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Rising Exposure of Underage People to Online Alcohol Advertisements Worrying

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Published on : Jan 07, 2016

It was earlier the case of the aggressive advertisement and marketing strategies adopted by e-cigarette manufacturers that made healthcare reformers and agencies apprehensive and now it is the impact of online marketing of alcohol on teenagers that’s worrying reformers.

In a recent U.S. study, it has been noted that more than half of underage people say that they have seen advertisements of alcohol on the Internet, though only a few admitted to engaging with alcohol brands or being a fan of brands online.

A study undertaken about a year back showed that teenagers who were more receptive to such advertisements were more likely than others to develop problem drinking in later stages of life.

The study, undertaken by researchers at the Lebanon, New Hampshire-based Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, made use of data from a survey in 2011 of about 2,000 young people between the ages of 15 to 20 years. The participants of the survey answered questions related to their memory of having seen advertisements for alcohol on the Internet, visiting websites of alcohol brands, recognizing brand images from websites and being an online fan of popular brands such as Jack Daniels or Bacardi.

Almost 60% of the participants said that they had seen the advertisements on online sources and over 13% also recognized at least one of the five websites of popular brands. 6% participants said that they had visited an alcohol brand website and 3% were online fans of some alcohol brand.

The following year, nearly 1,600 of the participants again participated in an online follow-up survey in which they were asked questions about binge drinking and ever drinking. To this point, over 55% participants said that they had ever had any kind of alcohol and 27% said that they had engaged in binge drinking, which refers to having six or more number of drinks at the same occasion.

It was estimated that the teens who had reported having seen alcohol advertisement on the Internet in the first survey were about 80% more likely to start binge-drinking by the time the second survey had started.