Ads influence our drinking binges

December 31st, 2008 - 11:11 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Dec 31 (IANS) Party season and binge drinking are often inseparable, and it is something influenced heavily by advertising, says a new study.A research team led by Christine Griffin, professor at the University of Bath in Britain, analysed 216 alcohol ads, both in print and broadcast.

Representations of binge drinking as a source of entertainment, coupled with pervasive coverage of drunken celebrities, has increased the social acceptance of binge drinking, said a university statement.

Advertising representing the ‘coolness’ of excessive drinking, along with the increasing use of internet based social networking sites that are used to share images of drunken nights out, also enable the linkage between alcohol and ‘having fun’.

Looking at what steps society may need to take to tackle binge drinking, Griffin said: “Top of my list would have to be to stop demonising and making generalisations about young people and their drinking. We also need to listen and incorporate their views and perspectives.

“A radical re-thinking of national alcohol policy is required which takes into account the social character of alcohol consumption and the identity implications for young people,” said Chris Hackley, a professor associated with the study.

While extreme drinking and determined drunkenness may be perceived as the norm amongst young people, there is some positive news from the research. Evidence suggests that increases in young people’s alcohol consumption is levelling off.

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