Alcohol advertising contributes to increased drinking among youth - that is the conclusion of a new study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (Vol. 160 No.1, January 2006). The study shows that the greater the exposure to alcohol advertising the greater the levels of youth drinking and the steeper the increases in drinking over time.

Alcohol Healthwatch Director Rebecca Williams says research on the issue is growing stronger in its ability to show the links between alcohol advertising and drinking behaviour. While the liquor industry claims that they do not target young people, their marketing is reaching young people and certainly influencing their drinking behaviour and the drinking of the greater population.

This research is timely given the recent announcement by Government of a review of the regulatory framework for alcohol advertising in New Zealand. Williams is pleased that the regulation of alcohol advertising is finally opened up for debate outside of the current self-regulatory regime. She calls for the panel overseeing the review and for the review process to remain focussed on the evidence and the long term nature of the effects of alcohol marketing. Arguments have so often focussed on the short term effects of advertising.

This debate must be based on the need to reduce alcohol-harm and consider how advertising influences the drinking culture and how regulation can support the achievement of the desired ‘culture change’. How to best protect young people from exposure to alcohol marketing will be a key question for the review.

Alcohol advertising and sponsorship has helped to create the drinking culture we have, therefore increased regulation must be part of the mix of solutions. Industry interests must not be allowed to derail the debate and must take a back seat to the greater public good.


Media Contact:
Rebecca Williams
Director
Alcohol Healthwatch
Ph: (09) 520 7035
Mob: 021 862 250
Action on Liquor Campaign information and briefing papers (including one on Alcohol Advertising and an additional update on alcohol marketing) can be found at http://www.ahw.org.nz/page.php?92

Reference:Effects of Alcohol Advertising Exposure on Drinking Among Youth, January 2006, Snyder et al Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (Vol. 160 No.1, January 2006)