Alcohol-related illnesses are some of the world’s leading causes of preventable deaths.
According to the World Health Organization they account for more than three million deaths annually. And alcohol abuse is increasingly affecting younger people in developing countries.
Now health advocates want to see a ban on advertising alcohol products. They say they’re being marketed more than ever.
Joy Gabrielli, Clinical Child Psychologist, Dartmouth-Hitchcock, co-authored a study that is about to be released. It surveyed 2000 kids between the ages of 15 and 20 over a two-year period to assess the effects of alcohol brand placement in television on youth behavior.
“We like to compare it to what we saw in the ’60s and ’70s with the tobacco industry and how they marketed. It’s extremely prevalent and in our study what we saw on average there were 2.2 alcohol brand placements per episode across the ten television shows that we coded. We saw an increased risk for the initiation of drinking following the exposure to these TV shows and then we also showed an increase in their likelihood for hazardous drinking behavior,” Gabrielli said.
Other studies have concluded alcohol ads have little impact on overall consumption, but this study looks specifically at the effects on young people who Gabrielli says are more vulnerable to advertising than adults.
From a public policy perspective it’s impossible to regulate how parents interact with their kids, which is why many are focusing on an ad ban. Russia forbids alcohol advertising in all media.
Turkey also has a blanket media ban, as does Indonesia. A total ban could prove a tough sell here-with revenues from U.S. alcohol sales at more than $211 billion per year.
Kristen Strader on the impact of alcohol consumption on young people
It’s one thing to advertise and another to target children. CCTV America’s Asieh Namdar spoke to Kristen Strader, the Campaign Coordinator for Public Citizen’s Commercial Alert program.
Follow Asieh Namdar on Twitter@asiehnamdar
Conceptual causal model of alcohol consumption and health outcomes.