Monday, November 11, 2013

Alcohol ads reaching too many young people

From HealthDay:

Too many young Americans are watching television ads for beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks, a new study contends.

The number and frequency of such ads exceeds the industry's own voluntary standard, said researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

Under that standard, which was adopted in 2003, alcohol companies agreed not to place any ads on TV programs when more than 30 percent of the audience was likely to be younger than 21.

If ads were curtailed to meet that standard, the "payoff in terms of reduced risk of underage drinking and harms related to it could be quite substantial," study author David Jernigan, director of the school's Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, said in a Hopkins news release.

Add marijuana to the advertising mix
In Washington, marijuana advertising will soon be added to the mix.  Advertising for marijuana dispensaries already exists.  (When riding the bus last week, my teenager saw ads in the local paper being read by the person sitting next to her.)  While the new marijuana market rules recently adopted by the Liquor Control Board state that ads must not target children, they will none-the-less be exposed to ads.  Plus, there is little, if any, monitoring of electronic marketing, especially social media.

What can parents do?
When parents and their children see ads for alcohol, marijuana, or tobacco, talk about them.  SAMHSA provides some tips for talking to teens about what they see in the media.  Parents and their teenage children can discuss:
  • What's the purpose of the ad?  Who created it and why?
  • What words, images, or sounds are used to create the message?
  • How does the message make you feel?
  • What are the message makers trying to accomplish -- sell a product, promote a belief, etc.

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