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Alcohol Ads Linked to Drinking in Teens, Young Adults

Study calls for alcohol industry to reduce amount of advertising that reaches young people

MONDAY, Jan. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Greater exposure to alcohol advertising is associated with an increased likelihood of consuming alcohol among teenagers and young adults, according to a study published in the January issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. The alcohol industry should revise the voluntary code that allows its ads to reach 30% of the youth market, the authors say.

Between April 1999 and February 2001, Leslie B. Snyder, Ph.D., of the University of Connecticut-Storrs, and colleagues interviewed a random sample of subjects aged 15 to 26 and studied per capita alcohol-advertising expenditures in 24 U.S. media markets.

The researchers found that each additional advertisement seen by young people was associated with a 1% increase in the number of drinks they consumed. The investigators also found that each additional advertising dollar spent per capita was associated with a 3% increase per month in the amount of alcohol that young people consumed. They estimate that a 20-year-old man who sees few alcohol advertisements and lives in a market with minimal alcohol advertising expenditures per capita would consume nine alcoholic drinks per month compared to 16 drinks per month if he sees many advertisements.

"If alcohol companies were to reduce the number of alcohol ads young people see by adopting a 15% maximum threshold for youth audiences for alcohol advertising, they could make a substantial contribution to reducing underage drinking," states the author of an accompanying editorial.

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