Monday, January 31, 2011

Hands Off Our Holidays :: Alcohol Advertising and Sports

Every day in the U.S., 4,750 young people under age 16 have their first full drink of alcohol.1 This is a problem because the earlier young people start drinking, the more likely they are to suffer alcohol-related health and social problems later in life.

While parents and peers have a large impact on youth decisions to drink, research clearly indicates that alcohol advertising and marketing also has a significant effect by influencing youth and adult expectations and attitudes, and helping to create an environment that promotes underage drinking. Exposure to alcohol advertising and marketing increases the likelihood that young people will start drinking, or that they will drink more if they are already consuming alcohol.2

The alcohol industry spends an estimated $6 billion a year on advertising and promotions. While they use various mediums the industry seems to be drawn to sports advertising. The industry has worked hard over the years to create a strong association between sports and alcohol. From advertising on television and the internet, to direct sponsorship of individual athletes, these sports-related promotions reach many children and young adults.

Our youth are continuously over-exposed to alcohol. It is estimated that they are 96 times more likely to see an alcohol promotion than any industry ad discouraging underage drinking. The Alcohol Industry has a hold on advertising especially at sporting events like the Superbowl. We encourage you to stay tuned to our blog posts this week as we discuss the grip that alcohol has on the Superbowl.

1Gfroerer J. Re: NSDUH figure. Personal communication (e-mail) to Jernigan D, Washington, D.C. Substance

2Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, September 17, 2007. Anderson P, De Bruijn A, Angus K, Gordon R, Hastings G. Impact of alcohol advertising and media exposure on adolescent alcohol use: a systematic review of longitudinal studies. Alcohol and Alcoholism. 2009;44(3):229-243.

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