Adolescent Exposure to Alcohol Advertising in Magazines

An Evaluation of Advertising Placement in Relation to Underage Youth Readership

Even though alcohol beverage industry trade associations publicly state that they do not advertise to youth, youth are exposed to alcohol advertising.

These researchers examined a large sample of national magazines (118) over five years to determine whether the types of alcohol beverages advertised were those consumed by underage youths. They used available data on beverage drinking prevalence among 18-to-20-year-olds to categorize the types of drinks popular (beer, vodka, rum), and not popular (scotch, whiskey, brandy) with underage drinkers. The researchers would have preferred to use the beverage drinking types consumed by 12-to-20-year-olds, but no data were available for the larger cohort.

Youth readership was found to be a factor in ad placements for youth alcoholic beverage types but not for non-youth types. Some 43 percent of advertisements for youth alcohol types appeared in magazines with high or very high youth readership, while 23 percent of advertisements for non-youth alcoholic beverage types appeared in those magazines.

Whether or not alcohol advertisers intend it, youth are being exposed to exactly those beverages they drink most. Alcohol industry self-regulation may not offer sufficient protection from youths being disproportionately exposed to appealing alcohol in magazines.

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