It is hard to ignore the fact that the age of alcohol drinkers is becoming younger and younger. Teens sing along to their favorite songs about getting drunk, living life, and acting crazy. Turn down for what? Furthermore, a new study confirmed that too young to legally drink teens are the targets for alcohol ad campaigns.
Published in the July issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, researchers found that young adults ages 18 to 20-years-olds are the most heavily exposed to magazine advertising of alcohol brands that are favored by this age group, even though the U.S. code for alcohol advertising requires magazines to accept placements of these ads if they have an audience of less than 30% of under 21 readers.
“The fact that we see these high levels of exposure to magazine advertising among underage readers despite all of the magazine advertisements being in compliance with alcohol industry self-regulatory codes clearly shows self-regulatory guidelines are not protective of youth,” lead author of the study Dr. Craig Ross stated in a news release.
Legal, but not old enough to drink, this age group suffers from one of the highest rates of excessive alcohol use and abuse compared to other age groups.
Dr. David Jernigan of the study stated that the study also “adds to the growing evidence that exposure to alcohol advertising may be related to drinking,” suggesting a “relationship between advertising exposure and consumption of specific brands.”
The study analyzed alcohol ads that ran in 2011 in U.S. magazines, focusing on the top 25 brands that underage drinkers typically consume. They found that these brands were heavily advertised in magazines that are commonly read by young people.
The researchers found that the top 25 brands, 17 were targeted at 18-20-year-old males, and 18 were targeted for females of the same age group.
Do you think that the media plays a major role in influencing excessive drinking? When did you have your first drink?