According to a report by the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, youth exposure to alcohol advertising increased 71% between 2001-2009. The report goes on to say:
Despite efforts of alcohol companies to strengthen their self-regulatory standards, the average number of ads seen by youth watching television increased from 217 in 2001 to 366 in 2009, or one alcohol ad per day.
In 2003, the trade associations representing beer and distilled spirits companies joined the wine industry in committing to place ads only when the underage audience composition is 30 percent or less. Their previous threshold had been 50 percent.
The report shows that the rise of distilled spirits advertising on cable television is driving the increase. Youth exposure to distilled spirits advertising grew by nearly 3,000 percent from 2001 to 2009, primarily on cable. The majority of youth exposure to alcoholic beverage advertising on cable occurred on programming that youth ages 12 to 20 were more likely to be watching than adults 21 and above.
What can parents do?
The Too Smart to Start website contains information for parents about media literacy and helping teenagers decipher what they see and hear so that they can resist pressures from advertising.
Alcohol ads during the Super Bowl
In an effort to increase awareness of this issue, the Marin Institute is hosting its annual Free the Bowl video contest for youth. The campaign is in response to the many alcohol ads broadcast during the Super Bowl, an event watched by an estimated 30 million underage youth.
The effects of media on teenagers
Earlier this year, Dr. Victor Strausburger spoke at Children's Hospital about "What every pediatrician and parent SHOULD know about the effects of media on adolescents."
Exposure to alcohol ads a risk factor for underage and binge drinking
A recent study, published in Preventive Medicine, bolsters the findings of previous research that show that there is an association between youth exposure to alcohol ads and alcohol use among teens, including binge drinking.