Brand-specific alcohol ads influence underage drinking, finds study

Brand-specific alcohol ads influence underage drinking, finds study

As alcohol is universally associated with the concept of celebration, drinking is now largely accepted as a part of the culture in many countries. However, overindulgence in alcohol continues to be prohibited worldwide due to the hazardous impacts on both health and life. Hence, many parents avoid talking about alcohol in front of their underage children to dissuade them from developing the habit of drinking. In all, many steps are taken by sociopolitical organizations and parents to keep the underage youngsters at bay from alcohol.

Despite the stringent measures, many studies underline the fact that the trend of drinking is rising among the underage youngsters. While peer pressure and bad company play an important role in accelerating this trend, early exposure to drinking due to brand-specific alcohol ads, both electronic and print,  has undoubtedly the major contribution.

According to a recent study,  “Amount of Televised Alcohol Advertising Exposure and the Quantity of Alcohol Consumed by Youth” — conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), exposure to brand-specific alcohol commercials is associated with an increased likelihood of youngsters consuming particular brands. In comparison to others, children spending more number of hours in front of a television, computer or any other electronic gadget are likely to drink more.

Underage drinkers prefer advertised brands over unadvertised brands of alcohol

The study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs in September 2016 primarily focused on the quality and quantity of alcohol consumed by the underage children. While the study states that alcohol commercials do affect the amount of alcohol children consume, the findings fall in line with the earlier studies, which indicated underage drinkers prefer the alcohol they see in ads.

The study took into account the data gathered from the Alcohol Brand Research Among Underage Drinkers (ABRAND) national survey of 1,031 children aged between 13 and 20 years. To draw a comparison between brand-specific alcohol commercials and brands popularly consumed by underage youngsters, the study collected data related to the exposure of children to 61 alcohol brands on the 20 most popular non-sport TV shows in the past one month.

During the study, the exposure to drinking was measured with ‘adstock units’ (a measure based on gross rating points). The study revealed that children with zero adstock units had around 14 drinks a month. In case the exposure increased to 300 adstock units, the consumption on an average reached to nearly 33 drinks a month. Meanwhile, children exposed to over 300 units had consumed over 200 drinks in the past month.

Enforce guidelines to avoid early exposure to alcohol commercials

The study also throws light on many of the loopholes that further encourage underage drinking. Firstly, it highlights the growing disobedience of the guidelines limiting alcohol ads to certain media to cater to an adult audience by the manufacturers. As manufacturers often tend to flout these guidelines, brand-specific commercials are quite frequently shown on the national media and widely viewed by underage youngsters.

Secondly, it draws attention toward the exposure of the underage youngsters through different types of media, such as television, computer, mobile phone and Internet, to drinking. Hence, it is important to take a note of the alarming findings of the study and work toward cutting on the amount of time children spend in front of a screen.

Road to recovery

The consumption of the first drink often happens during an occasion out of curiosity or peer pressure. This gradually develops into occasional drinking and then escalates into a habit. Once a person becomes dependent on alcohol, it finally leads to an addiction. Therefore, there is no escape from such a vicious circle, once a person stumbles into drinking.

If you or a loved one is struggling to overcome alcoholism, get in touch with the Alcohol Addiction Helpline of California to know more about the treatment programs available at the alcohol rehab centers in California. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-980-1715 or chat online to enquire about the reputed alcohol addiction treatment facilities in California. Our representatives will guide you to the best alcohol rehab centers in California.

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