Alcohol marketing and underage drinking

March 06, 2020

A new study by a research team including scientists from the Prevention Research Center of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation provides a systematic review of research that examines relationships between exposure to alcohol marketing and alcohol use behaviors among adolescents and young adults.

The researchers identified 38 cross-sectional studies that examined the relationship between alcohol marketing and alcohol use behaviors over a 40-year period.

Across types of alcohol use outcomes, such as lifetime alcohol use and alcohol problems, exposure to marketing such as alcohol advertising, alcohol-related merchandise, and alcohol promotion and media sources, such as television and billboards, the researchers concluded that alcohol marketing exposure was positively associated with young peoples' alcohol use.

In general, relationships for alcohol promotion, such as alcohol-sponsored events, and owning alcohol-related merchandise were more consistently positive than for other advertising exposures such as seeing alcohol advertising.

These positive associations were observed across the past four decades, in countries across continents, and with small and large samples.

Dr. Sharon Lipperman-Kreda, an author on the study, notes that: "Although we cannot make causal inferences because of the cross-sectional nature of the studies, they do provide evidence that alcohol industry marketing may be one factor contributing to drinking and alcohol-related problems among young people." This review of research literature over forty years indicates that future policies should regulate alcohol marketing to a greater extent than they do currently, and this may have important short- and long-term public health implications for reducing underage or problematic alcohol use among youth.
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Source: Finan, Laura J., Sharon Lipperman-Kreda, Joel W. Grube, Anna Balassone, and Emily Kaner. "Alcohol marketing and adolescent and young adult alcohol use behaviors: A systematic review of cross-sectional studies." Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, Supplement (2020).

PIRE is an independent, nonprofit organization merging scientific knowledge and proven practice to create solutions that improve the health, safety and well-being of individuals, communities, and nations around the world. http://www.pire.org

The Prevention Research Center (PRC) of PIRE is one of 16 centers sponsored by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), of the National Institutes of Health, and is the only one that specializes in prevention. PRC's focus is on conducting research to better understand the social and physical environments that influence individual behavior that lead to alcohol and drug misuse. http://www.prev.org

The Resource Link for Community Action provides information and practical guidance to state and community agencies and organizations, policy makers, and members of the public who are interested in combating alcohol and other drug abuse and misuse. https://prev.org/community-action/

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If you would like more information about this topic, please call Sue Thomas at 831.429.4084 or email her at thomas.pire.org

Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation

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