Drinking ads Hooking Youth

Alcohol marketing affects underage groups and now an online tool shows just how much

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Too much alcohol marketing is spilling over into the underage bracket. A free, easy to use online tool, shows just how much alcohol advertising is landing on the under 21 population.

Researchers created an online tool that arms anti-underage drinking groups with valuable information about alcohol media exposure. Nearly 4,500 kids under the age of 16 take their first drink nearly every single day.

"Check out the CAMY tool, it’s free!"

The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has developed an interesting and free online tool. Ever wonder how many radio ads for alcohol are entering the ears of underage folks on a daily basis?

Well CAMY’s tool makes it easy to find out exactly what’s being played on your city’s airwaves. Simply go the website, enter your city and what kind of alcohol advertisements you want to know about (beer, wine, spirits or all of the above) and click a button. In a second or two the CAMY tool will provide you with graphs and percentage data specific to your request.

CAMY director, David Jernigan, Ph.D., says, “Despite the proliferation of things like smart phones and tablets, radio continues to be a popular source of media among youth. This tool gives users in dozens of cities across the U.S. the ability to determine the scope to which young people in their community are exposed to alcohol marketing.”

While trade groups in the alcohol industry agreed to only place ads for alcoholic beverages in the media when the underage listeners were 30% or less of the audience. They made this pledge in 2003 and yet there are 14 longitudinal studies that have proven the underage crowd is greatly influenced by alcohol marketing.

This research has prompted several groups including 24 state attorneys general, the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine to lower alcohol ads in the media exposure to underage drinkers to 15% or less. After all in the U.S. people aged 12-20 make up less than 15% of the population.

The data for the CAMY tool is based on 75 media markets that reach ages 12-20 in the United States and gives three types of information. First, is the percent of alcohol ads that violate the 30% rule that the industry agreed to in 2003. Second is the percent of ads that go over the 15% or less underage population. Finally, is the number of ads that are most likely to be heard by the underage population rather than adults in the selected market.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now funds the CAMY. The CDC’s Alcohol Program Leader, Robert Brewer M.D., MSPH, says, “Alcohol is the leading substance abuse problem among youth in the U.S., and we know alcohol advertising and marketing have a significant impact on youth decision to drink. CAMY’s radio tool gives state and local health departments a brand new data source to help inform local efforts to reduce youth exposure to alcohol marketing.”

The online tool is available for free to the public on the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth website. Funding for CAMY is provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 12, 2012
Last Updated:
April 12, 2012