April 11th, 2014
Parents: Do Alcohol Advertisers Target Our Children?
By David Jernigan
2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the release of the landmark Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health. The 1964 report was the first Federal government report linking smoking to health consequences, including lung cancer and heart disease. The report set the groundwork for the next five decades of tobacco control programs and policies, including those limiting exposure to tobacco advertising and marketing. In 1969, cigarette advertising on U.S. TV and radio was banned, effective September 1970. And decades later the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement eliminated cigarette billboard advertising and print advertising directed to underage youth.
Many readers are old enough to remember being bombarded with images designed to convince the viewer that cigarettes were sexy, glamorous—healthy even! We shake our heads now, but at the time, many were persuaded by these powerful images.
Like tobacco, we know that the way alcohol is portrayed in advertisements and marketing affects decisions to drink, particularly in kids. Alcohol is the most commonly used drug among young people, accounting for an estimated 4,300 deaths among underage youth in the U.S. each year.