Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

GU Study Finds Radio Alcohol Ads Target Youth

Despite increased national awareness programs about underage drinking as a serious public health problem, America’s youth continue to be bombarded with alcohol ads in the media, according to a recent study by Georgetown’s Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth.

The study found that more than 25 percent of radio ads for alcohol during the last summer would have violated the alcohol industry’s revised marketing codes announced in September 2003. The Center’s study, which analyzed 106 various alcohol ads aired from June 15 to July 31, 2003, showed that many brands placed ads when underage youth represented more than 30 percent of the listening audience.

These brands, including Heineken, Amstel Light, Corona Extra and iller Lite, are no longer permitted to advertise to such a significant underage audience. This past September, The Beer Institute and the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States ruled that underage youth should not represent more than 30 percent – reduced from 50 percent – of the audience for alcohol ads.

The Institute of Medicine and National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences published a report in September 2003, calling on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to monitor such advertising practices and regularly report its observations to Congress and the public.

Dr. David H. Jernigan, research director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, emphasized the importance of decreasing the prevalence of alcohol ads in the media.

“More youth in the United States drink alcohol than smoke tobacco or marijuana, making it the drug most used by American young people,” Jernigan said. “All of us – parents, policymakers, educators and alcohol companies – have a responsibility to help prevent and decrease underage drinking. One of the things we can do is limit the exposure of underage youth to alcohol advertising.”

Additionally, Jernigan said that the Center’s study results confirm the necessity of regulation of alcohol advertisements.

“This study shows that more than a quarter of radio ads for alcohol in the summer of 2003 would not have been in compliance with the alcohol industry’s revised marketing codes announced in September 2003,” he said. “The alcohol industry will have to change its practices significantly to comply with these new standards.”

The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at Georgetown University watches the marketing practices of the alcohol industry to highlight industry practices that endanger the health and well-being of America’s youth. The Center is supported by grants from The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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