Alcohol Advertisement Alcohol Abuse Is a Serious Essay

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Alcohol Advertisement

Alcohol abuse is a serious issue throughout the world. Many people have been injured and killed as a result of alcohol abuse. Alcoholism also has a negative impact on families and society as a whole. There are many questions surrounding the reasons why people drink excessively. The abuse of alcohol is particularly disturbing amongst young people who drink illegally (McClure, 2006). Underage drinking is a major problem that can lead to serious problems and the use of hard drugs. Some people believe that some underage drinking is due to advertisements that are geared toward young people. The purpose of this discussion is to critically evaluate any evidence that seems to indicate that alcohol advertising and promotion is a contributory factor in the initiation and maintenance of underage drinking.

Advertisements and Underage Drinking

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Drinking amongst underaged people is problematic because of the severity of the consequences (Saffer & Dave, 2006). According to Snyder et al. (2006) "Drinkers younger than 21 years, who consume approximately 20% of all alcoholic drinks, imbibe more heavily than adults per drinking episode6 and are involved in twice as many fatal car crashes while drinking. The problem is getting worse, with youth initiating drinking at an earlier age on average than they did in the past (18)." This simply means that when under aged individuals drink, they consume or absorb more alcohol than drinkers who are not under aged. Additionally when underage people drink they are more likely to be involved in car accidents that end in death. In addition, the problem of underage drinking is become more of a problem as the age at which people begin drinking is becoming younger.

TOPIC: Essay on Alcohol Advertisement Alcohol Abuse Is a Serious Assignment

For many years research have attempted to uncover the reasons for underage drinking. Their search has led to the investigation of alcohol advertisements. For instance in 1999 the Federal Trade Commission asserted "While many factors may influence an underage person's drinking decisions, including among other things parents, peers and the media, there is reason to believe that advertising also plays a role (Self-Regulation in the Alcohol Industry, 1999)." Since this time numerous studies have found that underage consumption of alcohol can be correlated to alcohol advertisements that target youth.

Martin et al. (2002) explains that the notion that advertising effects the use of alcohol amongst uderaged people is due to the belief advertisement works. The authors assert that if advertisement does not work, companies would not continue to spend so much money each year to advertise products. In their study of the effect of alcohol ads on youth ages 15-26, Snyder et al. (2006) asked several questions. These questions included "How Much Alcohol Advertising Is There" and "Does Exposure to Alcohol Advertisements Matter to Youths Aged 15 to 26 Years."

The authors also explain that over a billion dollars is spent each year on the advertisement of alcohol products. Te authors report that in 19997 an analysis found that the majority of alcohol advertising dollars went to television ads. The research also found t that beer advertisements were the dominant types of advertisements on television and radio. The research also discovered that there is a substantial likelihood that youth will see beer advertisements on television. For instance data gathered in December of 1997 found that most beer advertisements shown nationally were shown during sports programs. In fact half of all beer advertisements shown on television are shown on Saturday and Sunday during sports programs. These programs are frequently viewed by children and underage individuals.

The facts reported in regards to the prominence of alcohol advertisements in the media demonstrates the ways in which people who are underage are exposed to alcohol use. It is unclear whether or not Alcohol companies are aware of the audiences that view their ads as it pertains to young people. The fact that children are exposed to these advertisements during sports programming may be coincidental because adult males are also a target audience for advertisers and as such running ads at this time makes complete business sense. On the other hand, many adult males are watching sports programming with their children. As such children are exposed to alcohol and drinking at a younger age than should be expected or permitted. This exposure could lead to the consumption of alcohol at a much earlier age than is legal or acceptable. As such companies should be more mindful of when and where these advertisements are shown.

The other question asked by Snyder et al. (2006) was "Does Exposure to Alcohol Advertisements Matter to Youths Aged 15 to 26 Years." According to the authors found that exposure to alcohol advertisement leads to more reports of alcohol exposure which results in greater consumption of alcohol. This is true of both young people and older people. The fact that exposure to alcohol advertisement results in greater exposure to alcohol was examined by comparing markets that have a greater amount of advertising to markets that have a lower amount of advertising. As a result of these comparisons it becomes obvious that within all markets in the United States there is some amount of advertisement of alcohol because some campaigns are national. However some areas of the United States have a greater amount of advertising than others because some campaigns are exposed on a local level. As such there are differences in the levels of advertising which means that some areas of the country receive more advertising. The test to determine the level of advertisement in any given area is a simple one. Basically the researcher examines the ways in which local advertising makes a difference in reported exposure that outpace the same impact of national advertisements in various markets. Then "If the national advertisements already reach some critical threshold of effects, then the amount of advertisements in each market may not contribute much to either self-reported exposure or to alcohol use (Martin et al., 2002, 902)."

Another relationship in the simple model of alcohol advertising effects is involves the concept of self-reported exposure to advertising and alcohol use. Some literature has found a small relationship between exposure to advertising and alcohol use as it pertains to teens, children, and college students (Adlaf and Kohn, 1989; Aitken et al., 1988; Atkin et al., 1983, 1984 cited in Martin et al., 2002, 902 ). However there is some difficulty associated with the question "do alcohol advertisements cause drinking, or does drinking cause noticing of advertisements." The authors explains that increased drinking amongst youth can be caused because by advertisements that stimulate that desire. It is also likely that young people who consume alcohol tend to be more attentive to alcohol advertisements when they see them which could result in the same level of correlation between drinking and exposure. The authors further explain that,

"To investigate the reciprocal effects between alcohol advertising and drinking among adolescents and young adults, a longitudinal model was tested that included three time points. Market advertising levels were computed from the total advertising expenditures on television, radio, newspapers, and billboards per market for the prior 6 months, by use of industry data. Self-reported exposure consisted of a battery of items on the youth survey asking about exposure in last 4 weeks to distilled spirits and beer advertisements. Alcohol use was measured by combined frequency, quantity, and maximum quantity items for any alcoholic beverage in the last 4 weeks (or 6 months for infrequent drinkers) (Martin et al., 2002, 902 )."

The results of the research found that levels of advertisement could be correlated with a small positive effect on exposure. The authors also found it important to note that this exposure was connected to increases in use. In addition there was no evidence that use caused increases in exposure. The increase in alcohol use was also connected to life experiences and certain activities . For instance, there were increases in uses connected to more hours worked, greater levels of education and amongst those who were not African-American. Additionally the model for underage youths (aged 15 to 20 years) reflected "similar results to the model for youths aged 15 to 26 years (Martin et al., 2002, 902 )."

Overall the researchers concluded that there is a strong prevalence of alcohol advertisement in the media at both the national and local levels. In addition the research found that in the aftermath of removing the ban on distilled spirits advertising the number of advertisements of alcohol on television and radio are now growing at an alarming rate. This rate of growth effects young people disproportionately because of the amount of television they are exposed to. In addition the research found that for people aged 15-26 old could actually recall their exposure to many alcohol advertisements, particularly the advertisements that were seen on television. Overall the researchers found that

"The amount of alcohol advertising in each market had a small positive effect on self-reported exposure. This effect was over and above any effect resulting from national advertisements. The more alcohol advertisements that were played in each… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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