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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

NYU: Just Like Tobacco Advertising, Exposure to Alcohol Ads Causes Teens to Drink

A study co-authored by Dr. Michael Weitzman, professor at the New York University School of Medicine and associated faculty member at the New York University School of Global Public Health, was published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs titled “Similarities Between Alcohol and Tobacco Advertising Exposure and Adolescent Use of Each of These Substances.”

Underage alcohol use is a major public health problem and substantial corporate money supports alcohol advertising across multiple venues. A diverse research literature demonstrates that adolescent exposure to such advertising is associated with drinking attitudes and behavior, but no scientific body has determined these associations to be causal. The objective of this study was to assess the association between alcohol advertising and teen drinking in the context of the “Analogy” criterion of the Bradford Hill criteria and consider a determination that the association between exposure to alcohol advertising and alcohol use is causal.

Findings indicate that in every aspect compared (i.e., adolescent knowledge; attitudes toward; initiation of use; continuation of use; mediums of advertisement; the use of mascots, celebrities, and themes; and frequency and density of advertisements and retailers), the results for both tobacco and alcohol and their association with exposure to advertising are analogous. These findings, when taken in the context of the Bradford Hill Criteria, show that exposure to alcohol advertising causes increased teen alcohol use.

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