Alcohol Advertising and Youth

Alcohol is the drug of choice among youth. Many young people are experiencing the consequences of drinking too much, at an early age. As a result, underage drinking is a leading public health problem in this country. Did you know that each year, approximately 5,000 young people under the age of 21 die as a result of underage drinking? This includes about 1,900 deaths from motor vehicles crashes, 1,600 as a result of homicides, 300 are a result of suicides as well as hundreds from other injuries ranging from falls, burns and drowning.

Yet drinking continues to be wide spread among adolescents. So after reading this article, I realized that the social problem the researchers were investigating was the exposure of alcohol advertising on television, on the radio, in magazines and on the internet to young members of our society (12-20 years of age) and adults. These particular adults being exposed to the alcohol advertisements are above the United States drinking age of 21 but underage drinking happens to be one of the main problem today as we speak.

Underage drinking is the social problem the researchers are hitting on the hardest in this article and for good reasons. In this particular article, researchers used secondary sources to acquire information about ways/methods advertisers use to sell their product. The researchers used databases that provided them with specific information to calculate how many youths actually are exposed to these alcoholic advertisements.

Another method that the researchers used was the Center on Alcoholic Marketing and Youth (CAMY) The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) was established and its activities funded by the Pew trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a ten billion (not million) dollar ($10,000,000,000. 00) organization. The stated mission of CAMY is to monitor “the marketing practices of the alcohol industry to focus attention and action on industry practices that jeopardize the health and safety of America’s youth. ” It seeks to create “public outrage” against alcohol advertising to achieve its objective.

Which in my eyes was a very good method used by the researchers in this article. According to the article, research showed that alcohol companies have placed significant amounts of advertising where youth are more likely per capita to be exposed to it than adults. Further analyses by the Center has demonstrated that much of its excess exposure of youth to alcohol advertising in the United States could be eliminated if alcohol companies would adopt a threshold of 15%(roughly the proportion of 12-20 year olds in the population.

However, an analysis revealed that CAMY’s own data suggest that advocacy groups have overstated the exposure of young people to alcohol ads on the radio by a whopping five hundred percent (500%). In reality, it appears that, at most, 17 percent of alcohol beverage ads are heard by those under age12-20. In my own opinion, I think that a good solution for this social problem would be to conduct surveys of actual behavior in underage drinkers and publicize the results in hope that these results would put an end to the extent of underage/heavy drinking.