New research has found a link between alcohol marketing and drinking among adolescents, providing ammo for Australia’s federal, state and territory governments to control when and where these types of ads can be seen.
The series of peer-reviewed studies published by international journal Addiction included a review of recent literature on the association between alcohol marketing and youth drinking.
The systematic review identified 12 new studies reporting findings from nine unique cohorts, including more than 35,000 people across several countries. All of these papers found a “significant association” between youth exposure to alcohol marketing and subsequent drinking behaviour.
Furthermore, a narrative review of digital marketing studies concluded that marketing through digital media uses approaches that are attractive to young people, and is therefore likely to have an impact on their drinking behaviour.
The authors of this particular review suggested that current marketing regulations are likely to be undermined by the commercial use of digital media.
The series of studies also found that self-regulatory measures by the alcohol industry are failing to protect vulnerable populations such as children.
“Of the 19 studies evaluating a specific marketing code and 25 content analysis studies reviewed, all detected content that could be considered potentially harmful to children and adolescents, including themes that appeal strongly to young men,” the Addiction supplement detailed.
“Of the 57 studies of alcohol advertising exposure, high levels of youth exposure and high awareness of alcohol advertising were found for television, radio, print, digital and outdoor advertisements. In a literature comprising more than 100 studies, none were identified that supported the effectiveness of industry self-regulation programs.”
The research concluded that global action on alcohol marketing is needed now to prevent continued exposure to vulnerable populations.
“The most effective response to alcohol marketing is likely to be a comprehensive ban on alcohol advertising, promotion and sponsorship, in accordance with each country’s constitution or constitutional principles,” the authors noted.