Study Reveals Exposure to Alcohol Advertising Increases Consumption By Teens

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Study Reveals Exposure to Alcohol Advertising Increases Alcohol Consumption By Teens

A new study, published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, found that teenagers who saw more ads for alcohol subsequently consumed more alcohol. This flies in the face of alcohol marketers’ contentions that advertisements don’t affect underage drinkers.

Dr. Timothy Naimi, associate professor at Boston University’s Schools of Medicine and Public Health:

“For a long time, a lot of people said, ‘Well advertising doesn’t really make a difference.’”

However, there has been a steady stream increasing evidence that children exposed to brand advertising are more likely to drink those brands. But now we also know that ads can influence more than just brand recognition – they can also influence the amount of consumption.

About the Study

The study was based on a sample of over 1,000 persons aged 13-20 who had consumed alcohol in the past 30 days. Participants were asked if they had watched any of the 20 most popular television shows that were not sports-related. Of the 61 brands of alcohol that were advertised during those programs, they were then asked how many they actually consumed.

Researchers discovered that underage drinkers who didn’t view alcohol ads consumed around 14 drinks per month. However, those who viewed some ads admitted to consuming 33 drinks per month. That’s more than double those who did not view any ads at all.

Finally, those underage drinkers who were exposed to the most ads drank at least 200 drinks in the past month! The respondents at that level was relatively small; however, it was nearly 14 times more than those underage drinkers who didn’t view any ads.

But are children who watch more television more likely to drink, regardless? Yes. However, the correlation between the number of ads viewed and the number of drinks consumed is sound. Of note,, yet another study found that kids aged 11-14, on average, view 2-4 ads for alcohol per day.


“I think the message is that this adds to evidence that alcohol advertising matters in terms of youth drinking and it demonstrates good support for the idea that alcohol advertising is not only related to which brands kids might choose to drink but how much they choose to drink in total.”

~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology

Primary Source:

Related: New PBS Documentary “Kingdom of Spiders” Looks Inside Mexican Drug War

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