Youth Exposed to Alcohol Ads More Likely to Consume Those Brands

A new report published online in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse shows that overall exposure to brand-specific alcohol advertising is a significant predictor of underage youth alcohol brand consumption, with young people ages 13-20 more likely to consume brands of alcohol that they have seen advertised, according to Science Daily.

The new data found that youth are more than five times more likely to consume alcohol brands that advertise on national television, and 36 percent more likely to consume alcohol brands that advertise in national magazines, compared to brands that don’t advertise in these forms of media.

The report was released by the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Boston University School of Public Health. It is believed to be the first study to examine the relationship between brand-specific advertising and brand-specific consumption of alcohol among underage drinkers.

“Marketing exposure is increasingly recognized as an important factor in youth drinking, yet few studies have examined the relationship between overall advertising exposure and alcohol consumption at the brand level,” says lead study co-author David Jernigan, CAMY director and an associate professor in the Bloomberg School’s Department of Health, Behavior and Society. “These findings indicate that youth are in fact consuming the same alcohol brands that they are most heavily exposed to via advertising.”

Alcohol is the number one drug consumed by teens and youth and is linked approximately 4,300 deaths per year. Alcohol advertising in the U.S. is primarily regulated by the alcohol industry itself through a set of voluntary codes, which includes not placing any ads on television programs where a disproportionate share of the audience is younger than 21. In 2011, the alcohol industry spent at least $3.5 billion in advertising and promotional expenditures, much of it in media venues in which youth compromise a disproportionate share of the audience.

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