Booze ads may lead to underage drinking

February 6th, 2009 - 1:45 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Feb 6 (ANI): Alcohol advertisements seen on TV, magazines, and at concession stands at sporting events or concerts, may lead to underage drinking, according to a review.

A large systematic review of more than 13,000 people, indicated that exposure to ads and product placements, even those supposedly not directed at young people, leads to increased alcohol consumption.

For the review, Lesley Smith and David Foxcroft from Oxford Brookes University collected data from seven rigorously selected studies, and featured information on 13,255 participants.

The review is said to be the first to study the effects of advertising; product placement in films, games, sporting events and music videos; depictions of drinking in various media; and exposure to product stands in shops.

“Our work provides strong empirical evidence to inform the policy debate on the impact of alcohol advertising on young people, and policy groups may wish to revise or strengthen their policy recommendations in the light of this stronger evidence, said Smith

The researchers observed that exposure to TV alcohol advertisements was linked with an increased tendency to drink, as were magazine advertisements and concession stands at sporting events or concerts.

Furthermore, the time spent watching films, playing games and watching music videos also led to young peoples” tendency to consume alcoholic beverages.

Smith said: “All seven studies demonstrated significant effects across a range of different exposure variables and outcome measures. One showed that for each additional hour of TV viewing per day the average risk of starting to drink increased by 9 percent during the following 18 months. Another found that for each additional hour of exposure to alcohol use depicted in popular movies there was a 15 percent increase in likelihood of having tried alcohol 13 to 26 months later”.

The researchers suggested that counter-advertising, social marketing techniques and other prevention optionssuch as parenting programmes, price increases and limiting availabilitymay help limit alcohol problems in young people.

The study has been published in the open access journal BMC Public Health. (ANI)

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