According to a new study titled “Cued Recall of Alcohol Advertising on Television and Underage Drinking Behavior” recently published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, alcohol ads on television play a significant role in promoting both binge drinking and underage drinking. According to a 2014 study conducted by the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, underage adolescents are “highly exposed” to alcohol advertisements in magazines.
Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports approximately 4,500 deaths per year occur due to underage drinking. It was statistics such as these that inspired further research. Thus, an investigative team from the Norris Cotton Cancer Center (NCCC) and Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) first conducted surveys of 2,541 United States adolescents between the ages of 15 and 23 in 2011 and 2013 via the internet and telephone.
Selected subjects were shown images of liquor and beer advertisements which had been aired on television in 2010 and 2011. All images were digitally edited in order to remove product branding. Participants were given scores based on “ad receptivity”.
This included such factors as whether they were able to correctly identify the brand and whether they recalled seeing the advertisement. Subjects under legal drinking age were also questioned as to when they first started drinking. Additionally, binge drinkers were specifically asked when they started binge drinking.
In comparison, underage participants were reportedly only slightly less likely to have viewed the alcohol advertising. The ad receptivity score was actually connected to the prediction of the onset of drinking. This means that subjects who had better recall of the advertisements were reportedly more likely to begin drinking at an early age.
Results were similar when it came to binge drinking and “hazardous drinking behavior.” James D. Sargent, co-author of the study, concluded: “It’s very strong evidence that underage drinkers are not only exposed to the television advertising, but they also assimilate the messages. That process moves them forward in their drinking behavior.”
Alcohol Ads influence Underage Drinking