Growing awareness about alcohol and alcohol-branded merchandise among the younger generation has led to an increased consumption of alcohol, revealed a recent study led by the University of Stirling and the Cancer Policy Research Centre at Cancer Research U.K. According to the study, youngsters in the age group of 11 to 19 years, who had an increased awareness about alcohol marketing were more likely to fall in the category of high risk alcohol consumption group, compared to the ones who had low or medium level of awareness about alcohol marketing.
The research revealed that teetotaler youngsters possessing alcohol-branded merchandise were more likely to indulge in drinking the following year. Further, 82 percent teens recollected watching at least some form of alcohol marketing in the month prior to the survey, while one-fifth of the surveyed youth said that they owned some or the other alcohol-branded merchandise.
Underage drinking is widely prevalent in the United States and has become a serious public health issue in the country. Youngsters in the age group of 12 to 20 years consume around 11 percent of the entire amount of alcohol consumed in the United States. Additionally, around 33 percent teens have had at least one drink by the age of 15 and approximately 60 percent teens have had at least one drink by the age of 18.
Alcohol marketing not restricted to television
The study led by Dr. Nathan Critchlow was the first of its kind to analyze the level of awareness pertaining to alcohol-related marketing and ownership of alcohol-branded merchandise among the youth across the U.K. The study participants included individuals who were both below and above the legal drinking or alcohol purchasing age.
According to Dr. Critchlow, alcohol marketing exists in several other forms popularly known as marketing mix. Around one-third of the study participants recollected seeing alcohol-related advertisements on television, special alcohol-related offers, and celebrities endorsing alcohol, a week prior to the survey. The remaining one-fifth of the participants remembered seeing alcohol-related marketing either on outdoor advertisements or on social media.
The study found that even after controlling for demographic factors and parental or peer drinking, there was still a connection between alcohol marketing and the increased risk of high alcohol consumption amongst youngsters. The same held true for youngsters possessing alcohol-branded merchandise and the increased risk of alcohol consumption in non-drinkers.
The study data was gathered from the 2017 Youth Alcohol Policy Survey which surveyed around 3,399 youngsters with an average age of 15 to 18 years. Of these, around 76 percent were below the legal age of purchasing alcohol, 1,590 were alcohol drinkers, and 1,623 were teetotalers, with half of them being susceptible to drinking the following year. The gender was equally distributed.
How did researchers measure level of alcohol marketing awareness?
The researchers measured the frequency of the study participants who witnessed around nine different types of alcohol-related marketing ranging from advertisements on television or newspapers, alternative means of marketing like competitions and sponsorships, and retail marketing, in the month prior to the survey.
They measured this awareness among the study participants across the previous month and the youngsters were categorized as having either low (seeing alcohol-related marketing every couple of days or less), medium (seeing alcohol-related marketing every day), or high (seeing alcohol-related marketing twice or more in a single day) level of awareness related to alcohol marketing. According to Dr. Critchlow, this study offered an insight into the various types of alcohol-related marketing that youngsters were aware of and how frequently they recollected seeing such type of marketing. It also revealed the factors responsible for the high level of awareness of alcohol marketing and possessing alcohol-branded merchandise by the study participants.
The influence of alcohol-related marketing on the young generation and its self-regulation continues to be a topic of debate not only in the U.K. but also in the United States, which has around 5.1 million youngsters reporting binge drinking at least once in the past month.
Getting treated for alcoholism
According to previous research, drinking at an early age can impact brain development in youngsters, affecting not only the brain structure but also its functioning. This may lead to the development of cognitive problems, making their brains more prone to alcohol dependence.
If you know someone battling an addiction to alcohol and looking for certified help for alcohol abuse, then get them in touch with the 24/7 Alcohol Abuse Help. Being a repository of alcohol-related resources, we can connect them with the reliable alcohol addiction treatment facilities offering evidence-based treatment programs for treating alcohol abuse. For more information about effective alcohol treatment programs, call our 24/7 alcohol helpline 866-480-6873 and speak to a certified representative. You can also chat online for further information.