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Underage Drinking

How Advertising Affects Teen Consumption of Alcohol

Posted by Sue Scheff on February 28, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

Teen Drinking

TeenDrinking5It is easy to ignore the effects that advertising has on the habits of our teens, yet research suggests that exposure to specific marketing campaigns does, indeed, lead to unhealthy choices.

One study (Wellman et al, 2006) found that exposure to tobacco marketing increased smoking by teens, and another (Hastings et al) concluded that food marketing increases food intake and the likelihood of obesity. Alcoholism, too, is a risk, with various longitudinal studies showing a link between exposure to alcohol advertising, and increased consumption.

Important findings include:

  • 12-year-olds who are heavily exposed to alcohol advertising are 50 per cent more likely to start drinking one year later compared to those who are only slightly exposed to similar material (Collins et al, 2007).
  • Teenage males who own a promotional item from an alcohol manufacturer are almost twice as likely to start drinking alcohol than male teens who do not own these items; statistics are similar for female teens (for whom percentages are slightly lower). (McClure et al, 2009).
  • Teens who have been heavily exposed to alcohol marketing tend to drink greater amounts than those who are slightly exposed to similar material. (Snyder et al, 2006)
  • Youths who watch 60 per cent more alcohol advertising are 44 per cent more likely to have ever drunk beer and 26 per cent more likely to have consumed three or more alcoholic beverages on one occasion. ((Stacy et al, 2004).

In one important study carried out by researchers at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, it was found that one in every three youths choose a brand of alcohol based on advertising and marketing. The reasons for the choice of a specific brand include:

  • Fondnessfor a particular celebrity or brand ambassador who endorses a specific alcoholic product.
  • Taste: Some youths choose a particular brand because they expect that it will taste good.
  • Price: Youths can make their selection based on the low cost of some items.
  • Emulation: Youths can opt for a particular brand because they see adults drinking it or see movie or television stars make the same choice.

Those who see alcohol as a lesser problem for youths in the U.S, should think again: alcohol is the most commonly abused drug among teens in America; it causes over 4,000 deaths among youths, every year. Research shows that around 70 per cent of 12th grade students have consumed alcohol and the problem extends to younger students, with around 13 per cent of eight graders admitting that they have consumed alcohol in the previous 30 days.

Meanwhile, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (2013) found that among high school students, in the 30 days prior to the survey, 21 per cent engaged in binge drinking, 10 per cent drove after drinking alcohol, and 22 per cent rode in a car driven by a person who had been drinking. Some 35 per cent in total consumed some amount of alcohol.

As a whole, it can be said that exposure to marketing and advertisements promoting alcohol, is linked to a greater chance of teens starting to drink, and of teens drinking more than counterparts who have not been bombarded with promotional material. It is therefore vital that parents and teachers enlighten teens on these findings, so that they become more aware about the link between what they view, and the choices they make. They should also be presented with the facts: alcohol and drugs are the leading factors in teen suicide, over 23 million people aged 12 and above are addicted to alcohol or drugs, and there is a direct relationship between addiction and poor academic results.

Of course, advertising is not the only reason teens use drugs and consume alcohol. Other factors are in play, which should be recognized and addressed by parents and teachers. These include the influence of other teens, escape, boredom, rebellion and instant gratification. For others still, drugs and alcohol are a way to gain the confidence they might not otherwise have. These people may use alcohol to rid themselves of inhibition and social anxiety. Finally, misinformation is one of the biggest culprits as far as abuse and addiction are concerned. Most teenagers will come across friends who used drugs and alcohol, yet seem to be functioning at school and socially. It is vital that schools and families work together to enlighten children on the pure, unadulterated facts regarding drugs and alcohol.

It is easy to ignore the effects that advertising has on the habits of our teens, yet research suggests that exposure to specific marketing campaigns does, indeed, lead to unhealthy choices. One study (Wellman et al, 2006) found that exposure to tobacco marketing increased smoking by teens, and another (Hastings et al) concluded that food marketing increases food intake and the likelihood of obesity. Alcoholism, too, is a risk, with various longitudinal studies showing a link between exposure to alcohol advertising, and increased consumptionImportant findings include:

  • 12-year-olds who are heavily exposed to alcohol advertising are 50 per cent more likely to start drinking one year later compared to those who are only slightly exposed to similar material (Collins et al, 2007).
  • Teenage males who own a promotional item from an alcohol manufacturer are almost twice as likely to start drinking alcohol than male teens who do not own these items; statistics are similar for female teens (for whom percentages are slightly lower). (McClure et al, 2009).
  • Teens who have been heavily exposed to alcohol marketing tend to drink greater amounts than those who are slightly exposed to similar material. (Snyder et al, 2006)
  • Youths who watch 60 per cent more alcohol advertising are 44 per cent more likely to have ever drunk beer and 26 per cent more likely to have consumed three or more alcoholic beverages on one occasion. ((Stacy et al, 2004).

In one important study carried out by researchers at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, it was found that one in every three youths choose a brand of alcohol based on advertising and marketing. The reasons for the choice of a specific brand include:

  • Fondnessfor a particular celebrity or brand ambassador who endorses a specific alcoholic product.
  • Taste: Some youths choose a particular brand because they expect that it will taste good.
  • Price: Youths can make their selection based on the low cost of some items.
  • Emulation: Youths can opt for a particular brand because they see adults drinking it or see movie or television stars make the same choice.

Those who see alcohol as a lesser problem for youths in the U.S, should think again: alcohol is the most commonly abused drug among teens in America; it causes over 4,000 deaths among youths, every year. Research shows that around 70 per cent of 12th grade students have consumed alcohol and the problem extends to younger students, with around 13 per cent of eight graders admitting that they have consumed alcohol in the previous 30 days.

Meanwhile, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (2013) found that among high school students, in the 30 days prior to the survey, 21 per cent engaged in binge drinking, 10 per cent drove after drinking alcohol, and 22 per cent rode in a car driven by a person who had been drinking. Some 35 per cent in total consumed some amount of alcohol.

As a whole, it can be said that exposure to marketing and advertisements promoting alcohol, is linked to a greater chance of teens starting to drink, and of teens drinking more than counterparts who have not been bombarded with promotional material. It is therefore vital that parents and teachers enlighten teens on these findings, so that they become more aware about the link between what they view, and the choices they make. They should also be presented with the facts: alcohol and drugs are the leading factors in teen suicide, over 23 million people aged 12 and above are addicted to alcohol or drugs, and there is a direct relationship between addiction and poor academic results.

Of course, advertising is not the only reason teens use drugs and consume alcohol. Other factors are in play, which should be recognized and addressed by parents and teachers. These include the influence of other teens, escape, boredom, rebellion and instant gratification.

For others still, drugs and alcohol are a way to gain the confidence they might not otherwise have. These people may use alcohol to rid themselves of inhibition and social anxiety. Finally, misinformation is one of the biggest culprits as far as abuse and addiction are concerned. Most teenagers will come across friends who used drugs and alcohol, yet seem to be functioning at school and socially. It is vital that schools and families work together to enlighten children on the pure, unadulterated facts regarding drugs and alcohol.

Contributor: Helen Canning – Now working primarily as a writer, Helen Canning used to work in the health care sector, initially in social care. After battling her own problems with depression and stress, she decided to leave the pressure of her job behind and become a stay-at-home writer. It fits in perfectly with raising her two children and means she can pen articles on the topics she knows most about.

If you feel your teen is struggling with an alcohol problem, don’t waste time in seeking them help. If you have exhausted your local resources and feel outside options might be your last resort, contact us for information on what’s available for your teen’s individual needs.

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Teens and Underage Drinking

Posted by Sue Scheff on June 29, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

Teen Underage Drinking

TeensAlcoholWhether it’s summer break, back to college freedom or a Friday night without parents, underage drinking is a concern that parents need to take seriously.

Do you believe underage drinking is okay?

People have different philosophies about alcohol. One thing everyone can agree on is that drinking and driving kills, as does buzzed driving.  Especially with young drivers, such as teenagers, mixing alcohol with an automobile is not only potentially deadly for them, but for others on the road.

Facts About Underage Drinking:

You probably see and hear a lot about alcohol—from TV, movies, music, and your friends. But what are the real facts about underage alcohol use?

Myth Alcohol isn’t as harmful as other drugs.
FACT Alcohol increases your risk for many deadly diseases, such as cancer. Drinking too much alcohol too quickly can lead to alcohol poisoning, which can kill you.

Myth Drinking is a good way to loosen up at parties.
FACT Drinking is a dumb way to loosen up. It can make you act silly, say things you shouldn’t say, and do things you wouldn’t normally do (like get into fights).

Myth Drinking alcohol will make me cool.
FACT There’s nothing cool about stumbling around, passing out, or puking on yourself. Drinking alcohol also can cause bad breath and weight gain.

teendrinking4 (1)Myth All of the other kids drink alcohol. I need to drink to fit in.
FACT If you really want to fit in, stay sober. Most young people don’t drink alcohol. Research shows that more than 70 percent of youth age 12 to 20 haven’t had a drink in the past month.1
 
Myth I can sober up quickly by taking a cold shower or drinking coffee.
FACT On average, it takes 2 to 3 hours for a single drink to leave the body. Nothing can speed up the process, not even drinking coffee, taking a cold shower, or “walking it off.”

Myth Adults drink, so kids should be able to drink too.
FACT A young person’s brain and body are still growing. Drinking alcohol can cause learning problems or lead to adult alcoholism. People who begin drinking by age 15 are five times more likely to abuse or become dependent on alcohol than those who begin drinking after age 20.2
 
Myth Beer and wine are safer than liquor.
FACT Alcohol is alcohol. It can cause you problems no matter how you consume it. One 12-ounce bottle of beer or a 5-ounce glass of wine (about a half cup) has as much alcohol as a 1.5-ounce shot of liquor. Alcopops—sweet drinks laced with malt liquor—often contain more alcohol than beer!

underage_drinkingMyth I can drink alcohol and not have any problems.
FACT If you’re under 21, drinking alcohol is a big problem: It’s illegal. If caught, you may have to pay a fine, perform community service, or take alcohol awareness classes. Kids who drink also are more likely to get poor grades in school and are at higher risk for being a crime victim.

Sources:
1 Office of Applied Studies (2008). Results from the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National findings. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.2 Office of Applied Studies (2004). Alcohol dependence or abuse and age at first use. The NSDUH Report.
If your teen is struggling with a drinking problem, don’t hesitate to reach out for local help.  If they refuse to get help or you find it isn’t benefiting them, contact us to determine if residential therapy would be an option.   Exhausting your local resources is always your first path.

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