Alcohol advertisements influence teenagers: Study

Study developed a framework to show causality between tobacco advertising and youth smoking and applied it to alcohol advertising

By Author  |  Published: 29th Feb 2020  6:14 pm
Alcohol advertisements
Representational Image

Washington DC: It is common knowledge that advertisements impact peoples’ purchasing decisions to a significant degree. A new study exposed the vulnerability of youth towards developing a drinking habit due to the influence of alcohol advertising.

The study led by NYU School of Global Public Health and NYU Grossman School of Medicine developed a framework to show causality between tobacco advertising and youth smoking and applied it to alcohol advertising. The study was published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

In the study, Michael Weitzman and his coauthor, Lily Lee of SUNY Downstate Medical Center, used one of the key elements of the Bradford Hill criteria — a well-known framework for determining causal links between environmental exposures and disease — to determine if marketing is a cause of youth alcohol use.

The team compared the same categories the Surgeon General used to deem a causal relationship between tobacco advertising and youth smoking — including marketing strategies, frequency and density of ads, and teens’ attitudes toward and use of cigarettes — to the case of alcohol.

From the comparison, it was clear that the influence of tobacco and alcohol advertising on teens were analogous. For instance, both tobacco and alcohol companies used mascots in advertisements, which research shows are easily recognized and trusted by children.

In addition, both tobacco and alcohol companies use or have used movies, TV, and sporting events as opportunities for advertising and product placement, with studies showing that exposure to smoking and drinking increases the risk for youth initiation.