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Alcohol advertising reaching too many teens on cable TV, researchers say
Date:8/20/2009

in spirits ads and a 22-percent increase in ads for low-alcohol refreshers/alcopops flavored alcoholic beverages that taste similar to juice or soda.
  • In contrast, wine ads decreased by 8 percent with each 1-percentage-point increase in adolescent viewership; this finding suggests that alcohol advertisers can, in fact, successfully avoid adolescent audiences.

    "This study did not examine whether alcohol advertisers are intentionally overexposing adolescents," said lead study author Dr. Paul J. Chung, assistant professor of pediatrics at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA and a senior natural scientist at the RAND Corp. "The alcohol industry has consistently denied actively targeting teens, and our study isn't designed to test that claim. However, the ultimate effect of their advertising strategies, intentional or not, appears to be greater exposure than might be expected if adults were the sole targets of ads."

    For years, alcohol has been the substance of abuse most commonly used by teens in the United States, and the public health consequences of underage drinking are considerable. Numerous studies and national statistics report that adolescents are involved in a significant proportion of the injuries, violence and crime that stem from binge drinking and other forms of alcohol abuse. Moreover, studies have shown that starting to drink as an adolescent has been linked with much greater risks of lifelong problem drinking.

    Multiple studies suggest that alcohol ads can have substantial influence on underage drinking attitudes and behaviors.

    "It's difficult to document experimentally," said Chung, who also directs the UCLARAND Center for Adolescent Health Promotion. "But there's not too much doubt that advertising and marketing affect the behavior of both children and adults. Common sense tells us that if it didn't work, companies probably wouldn't be spending so much money on it. So, it's a lot harder for parents, teacher
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  • Contact: Amy Albin
    aalbin@mednet.ucla.edu
    310-794-8672
    University of California - Los Angeles
    Source:Eurekalert

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