Authors: M. Petticrew, N. Douglas, P. D’Souza, Y.M. Shi, M.A. Durand, C. Knai, E. Eastmure, N. Mays Title: Community Alcohol Partnerships with the alcohol industry: what is their purpose and are they effective in reducing alcohol harms? Journal: Journal of Public Health, pp. 1–16, doi:10.1093/pubmed/fdw139 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Abstract: Background:  Local initiatives to reduce alcohol harms are common. One UK approach, Community Alcohol Partnerships (CAPs), involves partnerships between the alcohol industry and local government, focussing on alcohol misuse and anti-social behaviour (ASB) among young people. This study aimed to assess the evidence of effectiveness of CAPs. Methods:  We searched CAP websites and documents, and databases, and contacted CAPs to identify evaluations and summarize their findings. We appraised these against four methodological criteria: (i) reporting of pre–post data; (ii) use of comparison area(s); (iii) length of follow-up; and (iv) baseline comparability of comparison and intervention areas. Results: Out of 88 CAPs, we found three CAP evaluations which used controlled designs or comparison areas, and further data on 10 other CAPs. The most robust evaluations found little change in ASB, though few data were presented. While CAPs appear to affect public perceptions of ASB, this is not a measure of the effectiveness of CAPs. Conclusion: Despite industry claims, the few existing evaluations do not provide convincing evidence that CAPs are effective in reducing alcohol harms or ASB. Their main role may be as an alcohol industry corporate social responsibility measure which is intended to limit the reputational damage associated with alcohol-related ASB. The article (full text) can be downloaded via this link.
Authors: Jonathan K. Noel & Thomas F. Babor Title: Does industry self-regulation protect young people from exposure to alcohol marketing? A review of compliance and complaint studies Journal: Addiction, 2016, 10.1111/add.13432OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Abstract: Background and aims: Exposure to alcohol marketing is considered to be potentially harmful to adolescents. In addition to statutory regulation, industry self-regulation is a common way to protect adolescents from alcohol marketing exposures. This paper critically reviews research designed to evaluate the effectiveness of the alcohol industry's compliance procedures to manage complaints when alcohol marketing is considered to have violated a self-regulatory code. Methods: Peer-reviewed papers were identified through four literature search engines: PubMed, SCOPUS, PsychINFO and CINAHL. Non-peer-reviewed reports produced by public health agencies, alcohol research centers, non-governmental organizations, government research centers and national industry advertising associations were also included. Results: The search process yielded three peer-reviewed papers, seven non-peer reviewed reports published by academic institutes and non-profit organizations and 20 industry reports. The evidence indicates that the complaint process lacks standardization across countries, industry adjudicators may be trained inadequately or biased and few complaints are upheld against advertisements pre-determined to contain violations of a self-regulatory code. Conclusion: The current alcohol industry marketing complaint process used in a wide variety of countries may be ineffective at removing potentially harmful content from the market-place. The process of determining the validity of complaints employed by most industry groups appears to suffer from serious conflict of interest and procedural weaknesses that could compromise objective adjudication of even well-documented complaints. In our opinion the current system of self-regulation needs major modifications if it is to serve public health objectives, and more systematic evaluations of the complaint process are needed. The article can be downloaded via this link in the Wiley Online Library.
Authors: Jernigan, Noel, Landon, Thornton & Lobstein Title: Alcohol marketing and youth alcohol consumption: a systematic review of longitudinal studies published since 2008 Journal: Addiction, 2016, 10.1111/add.13591OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Abstract: Background and aims: Youth alcohol consumption is a major global public health concern. Previous reviews have concluded that exposure to alcohol marketing was associated with earlier drinking initiation and higher alcohol consumption among youth. This review examined longitudinal studies published since those earlier reviews. Methods: Peer-reviewed articles were identified in medical, scientific and social science databases, supplemented by examination of reference lists. Non-peer-reviewed papers were included if they were published by organisations deemed to be authoritative, were fully referenced and contained primary data not available elsewhere. Papers were restricted to those that included measures of marketing exposure and alcohol consumption for at least 500 underage persons. Multiple authors reviewed studies for inclusion and assessed their quality using the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's Quality Assessment Tool for Observation Cohort and Cross-Sectional Studies. Results: Twelve studies (ranging in duration from nine months to eight years), following nine unique cohorts not previously reported on involving 35,129 participants from Europe, Asia and North America, met inclusion criteria. All 12 found evidence of a positive association between level of marketing exposure and level of youth alcohol consumption. Some found significant associations between youth exposure to alcohol marketing and initiation of alcohol use (odds ratios ranging from 1.00 to 1.69), there were clear associations between exposure and subsequent binge or hazardous drinking (odds ratios ranging from 1.38 to 2.15). Mediators included marketing receptivity, brand recognition, and alcohol expectancies. Levels of marketing exposure among younger adolescents were similar to those found among older adolescents and young adults. Conclusions: Young people who have greater exposure to alcohol marketing appear to be more likely subsequently to initiate alcohol use and engage in binge and hazardous drinking. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. The article can be downloaded via this link in the Wiley Online Library.

Authors: Tim McCreanor, Antonia Lyons, Christine Griffin, Ian Goodwin, Helen Moewaka Barnes & Fiona Hutton Title: Youth drinking cultures, social networking and alcohol marketing: implications for public health Journal: Critical public health, 23(1), 110-120.

AbstractOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Alcohol consumption and heavy drinking in young adults have been key concerns for public health. Alcohol marketing is an important factor in contributing to negative outcomes. The rapid growth in the use of new social networking technologies raises new issues regarding alcohol marketing, as well as potential impacts on alcohol cultures more generally. Young people, for example, routinely tell and re-tell drinking stories online, share images depicting drinking, and are exposed to often intensive and novel forms of alcohol marketing. In this paper, we critically review the research literature on (a) social networking technologies and alcohol marketing and (b) online alcohol content on social networks, and then consider implications for public health knowledge and research. We conclude that social networking systems are positive and pleasurable for young people, but are likely to contribute to pro-alcohol environments and encourage drinking. However, currently research is preliminary and descriptive, and we need innovative methods and detailed in-depth studies to gain greater  understanding of young people’s mediated drinking cultures and commercial alcohol promotion.

The impact of alcohol marketing exposure on the drinking behaviour of young people This Fact Sheet examines both long term and short term effects of exposure to alcohol marketing on the drinking behavior of youngsters.

The effects of alcohol advertising and marketing on drinking behavior of young people has been more and more extensively studied over the past few years. Evidence has grown stronger that especially exposure to large volumes of alcohol advertising has an undesirable impact on the drinking behavior of youngsters. These effects of alcohol advertising on drinking behavior have been found on the long term (longitudinal studies) as well as on the short term (experimental studies). Both types of research (findings) will be discussed in this fact sheet. The fact sheet concludes that taken together, both longitudinal studies as well as experimental studies indicate that exposure to the amount of alcohol advertising and promotion affects youth drinking behavior. This conclusion is supported by several empirical- and review studies, published in peer reviewed journals and by the Science Group of the Alcohol and Health Forum of the European Commission (2009). These effects show the need to limit the volume (and content) of alcohol marketing through comprehensive legislation.

The full fact sheet can be downloaded and read here

Authors: Ailsa Lyons, Ann McNeill, Ian Gillmore, John Britton Title: Alcohol imagery and branding, and age classification of films popular in the UK Journal: International Journal of Epidemiology Full text available at:

AbstractOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Background: Exposure to alcohol products in feature films is a risk factor for use of alcohol by young people. This study was designed to document the extent to which alcohol imagery and brand appearances occur in popular UK films, and in relation to British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) age ratings intended to protect children and young people from harmful imagery. Methods: Alcohol appearances (classified as ‘alcohol use, inferred alcohol use, other alcohol reference and alcohol brand appearances’) were measured using 5-min interval coding of 300 films, comprising the 15 highest grossing films at the UK Box Office each year over a period of 20 years from 1989 to 2008. Results: At least one alcohol appearance occurred in 86% of films, at least one episode of alcohol branding in 35% and nearly a quarter (23%) of all intervals analysed contained at least one appearance of alcohol. The occurrence of ‘alcohol use and branded alcohol appearances’ was particularly high in 1989, but the frequency of these and all other appearance categories changed little in subsequent years. Most films containing alcohol appearances, including 90% of those including ‘alcohol brand appearances’, were rated as suitable for viewing by children and young people. The most frequently shown brands were American beers: Budweiser, Miller and Coors. Alcohol appearances were similarly frequent in films originating from the UK, as from the USA. Conclusion: Alcohol imagery is extremely common in all films popular in the UK, irrespective of BBFC age classification. Given the relationship between exposure to alcohol imagery in films and use of alcohol by young people, we suggest that alcohol imagery should be afforded greater consideration in determining the suitability of films for viewing by children and young people.

Why are young people in particular vulnerable to alcohol advertising and promotion Alcohol use among children and adolescents is of particular concern to policy makers, since these youngsters are facing disproportional physical and social alcohol related harm (Boelema et al 2009). There is increasing evidence that exposure to media and alcohol marketing is associated with the likelihood that adolescents will start to drink alcohol, and with increased drinking amongst those who already drink alcohol (Anderson et al 2009). This association is not found for the population as a whole.

This fact sheet describes reasons, found in the literature, why adolescents are in particular vulnerable to exposure to the influence of alcohol advertising and promotion.

The full fact sheet can be downloaded and read here