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Young Adults Frequently Exposed to Alcohol Ads in Magazines

Update Date: Jul 08, 2014 01:01 PM EDT

Advertisements can have a great effect on people's consumption. In a new study, researchers examined how often underage drinkers were exposed to alcohol ads in magazines. The team from the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health discovered that the young adults consume the brands they are exposed to more heavily than other brands.

"Eighteen- to 20-year-olds experience one of the highest rates of excessive alcohol use and alcohol use disorders among all age groups," stated study author and CAMY director David Jernigan, PhD, according to the press release. "This study adds to the growing evidence that exposure to alcohol advertising may be related to drinking and, importantly, suggests a relationship between advertising exposure and consumption of specific brands."

In this study, the researchers discovered that young adults between the ages of 18 and 20 were frequently exposed to magazine ads for 25 alcohol brands that were already popular for underage drinkers. The researchers also looked into another 308 alcohol brands that were less popular and found that underage drinkers were not as exposed to these brands. The researchers reasoned that exposure to these magazine ads could contribute to the popularity of those specific brands. However, the study did not find a cause and effect relationship.

"Overall, the top 25 brands consumed by underage males were more than nine times more likely to include males ages 18 to 20 in their most heavily exposed group, and the top 25 brands consumed by underage females were more than five times more likely to include females ages 18 to 20 in their most heavily exposed group," stated lead study author and CAMY consultant Craig Ross, PhD. "Young people, and especially young females, still read magazines, and the alcohol brands youth are being over-exposed to via magazine advertisements are the same brands they are choosing to drink."

The study, "Youth Alcohol Brand Consumption and Exposure to Brand Advertising in Magazines," was published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

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