Alcohol use among adolescents and its negative consequences is a well-known problem in our society. A large proportion of adolescents experiment with alcohol, 79% of high school seniors have tried alcohol and 32% have consumed 5 or more drinks on 1 occasion in the past month. Underage drinking is responsible for more than 4,700 annual deaths among underage youth and each year, approximately 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape. 1 While many factors increase the risk of underage drinking, including parenting styles, peer drinking, income, and personality traits; studies have shown alcohol advertising to be an independent risk factor for underage drinking.
According to the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, youth (defined as individuals under the age of 21) are heavily exposed to alcohol advertisements and view an average of 366 alcohol advertisements every year solely on television.2 Although there is a considerable level of alcohol advertising, the alcohol industry argues that its advertising codes prohibit advertising which target youth. The current advertising codes require that 70% of the audience exposed is over 21.3 The question is are alcohol advertisements strict enough and doing all they can to prevent drawing in youth in with their ads. While the industry advertising standards help guide alcohol advertisers towards responsible behavior, they fail to prevent advertising considered to have youth appeal. The alcohol industry standards are not effective in preventing ads that attract youth. Overall they have vague standards that do not specify unacceptable practices and narrow standards that do not address many ads that may mislead or appeal to youth. .
Current Regulation and Codes.
Because alcohol is a problematic product in our society, both public and private sectors have placed restrictions on advertisements and sales.