Alcohol Ads and Future Drinking

alcohol-problemPercent of adults 18 years of age and over who were current regular drinkers (at least 12 drinks in the past year): 51.5%

In the United States, 72% of all deaths among youth and young adults aged 10–24 years result from four causes: motor vehicle crashes (26%), other unintentional injuries (17%), homicide (16%), and suicide (13%).


For detailed statistics on youth risk behaviors see



Below, the journal “Pediatrics” just published a study confirming what we all know to be true.  Alcohol advertisements do influence our teens to drink.  Teens that drink are far more likely to engage in risky behavior, such as drinking and driving, unprotected sex, and other drug use, etc.  If you have ever made a conscious effort not to watch alcohol commercials, you may find certain events (like major sporting events) have so many alcohol commercials that you might as well mute them all. These commercials glamorize alcohol by associating drinking with “fun” or good looking women/men, or fast cars, etc.  Just as violence on TV and video games may not be as harmless as once thought, clearly exposure of our teens to alcohol commercials can have a profound negative influence on their future. 


We know that early alcohol consumption predisposes children to a much higher likelihood of drinking problems or alcoholism.  Parents, it is much more important than you realize to do everything in your power to reduce opportunities for your children to come into contact with alcohol and even the commercials that glamorize drinking.  Model good behavior and if you are struggling yourself, get help.  That is likely the single most important gift you can give your family. Professional counseling can help or just walk into any open meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). 


Consider not keeping any alcohol in the house, especially if you have impulsive, risk-taking children. 



Exposure to Alcohol Advertisements and Teenage Alcohol-Related Problems

Jerry L. Grenard, PhD,
Clyde W. Dent, PhD, 
Alan W. Stacy, PhD


OBJECTIVE: This study used prospective data to test the hypothesis that exposure to alcohol advertising contributes to an increase in underage drinking and that an increase in underage drinking then leads to problems associated with drinking alcohol.

METHODS: A total of 3890 students were surveyed once per year across 4 years from the 7th through the 10th grades. Assessments included several measures of exposure to alcohol advertising, alcohol use, problems related to alcohol use, and a range of covariates, such as age, drinking by peers, drinking by close adults, playing sports, general TV watching, acculturation, parents’ jobs, and parents’ education.

RESULTS: Structural equation modeling of alcohol consumption showed that exposure to alcohol ads and/or liking of those ads in seventh grade were predictive of the latent growth factors for alcohol use (past 30 days and past 6 months) after controlling for covariates. In addition, there was a significant total effect for boys and a significant mediated effect for girls of exposure to alcohol ads and liking of those ads in 7th grade through latent growth factors for alcohol use on alcohol-related problems in 10th grade.

CONCLUSIONS: Younger adolescents appear to be susceptible to the persuasive messages contained in alcohol commercials broadcast on TV, which sometimes results in a positive affective reaction to the ads. Alcohol ad exposure and the affective reaction to those ads influence some youth to drink more and experience drinking-related problems later in adolescence.


Dr. Paul


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