Last fall, the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) released a report suggesting that alcohol producers frequently don’t adhere to their own voluntary rules concerning the exposure of children to radio advertisements. To back this conclusion up, CAMY has now released an online tool that makes the underlying data clear for all who are interested. According to CAMY, this is the first service to provide parents, health departments and other key audiences with access to customizable information on youth exposure to radio alcohol advertising.
The online tool was developed by CAMY, the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. It allows the user to visualize the extent of exposure to radio alcohol advertisements among young people ages 12 to 20 in 75 of America’s local media markets. CAMY director David Jernigan said: “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.” Jernigan also stressed that despite the proliferation of smart phones and tablets, radio continues to be a popular source of media among youth.
In 2003, trade groups of alcohol producers committed to placing alcohol ads in media venues only when the percentage of underage youth comprises 30 percent of the audience or less. According to CAMY, since that time, a number of groups and officials, including the National Research Council, the Institute of Medicine and 24 state attorneys general, have called upon the alcohol industry to strengthen its standard and meet a “proportional” 15 percent placement standard, given that the group most at risk for underage drinking – 12 to 20 year-olds – is less than 15 percent of the U.S. population. At least 14 longitudinal research studies have found that the more young people are exposed to alcohol marketing, the more likely they are to start drinking or, if already drinking, to drink more.
The new tool by CAMY provides three important measures for 75 US local markets: the percent of alcohol ads that are out of compliance with the 30 percent standard; the percent which exceed the 15 percent proportional standard; and “youth overexposure,” that is, how many ads in each market were more likely to be heard by youth per capita than by adults. An earlier CAMY analysis of all 75 markets found close to one-third of advertising placements occurred when proportionately more youth were listening than adults age 21 and above. The analysis also found that 9 percent of the ads in 75 markets failed to meet the industry standards, which accounted for almost 50 percent of all radio listeners age 12 and older. Three brands alone – Miller Lite, Bud Light and Coors Light – placed more than half of these violating ads.
“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 decisions to drink,” said Robert Brewer, Alcohol Program Leader in the Division of Population Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “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.”
Source: Eurekalert 04/10/2012