Leading public health experts warn that youth around the world are exposed to extensive alcohol marketing, and that current controls on that marketing appear ineffective in blocking the association between youth exposure and subsequent drinking. Alcohol is the leading cause of death and disability for young males aged 15-24 in nearly every region of the world, and young females of the same age in the wealthy countries and the Americas. The experts call for governments around the world to renew their efforts to address the problem by strengthening the rules governing alcohol marketing with more effective independent statutory regulations. Their call coincides with the publication of a series of reports in a supplement to the scientific journal Addiction that presents the latest evidence on alcohol marketing and its impact on children. Key findings from the collection of peer-reviewed manuscripts include:
  • Exposure to alcohol marketing is associated with youth alcohol consumption
  • Analysis of alcohol promotion during the 2014 FIFA World Cup indicates alcohol marketing practices frequently appeared to breach industry voluntary codes of practice
  • Alcohol industry self-regulatory codes do not sufficiently protect children and adolescents from exposure to alcohol promotions, especially through social media
The Addiction supplement comprises 14 papers, with research presented from around the world. Lead editor Professor Thomas Babor, of the University of Connecticut, says: “Governments are responsible for the health of their citizens.  No other legal product with such potential for harm is as widely promoted and advertised in the world as alcohol. These papers provide a wealth of information to support governments in their efforts to protect children and other vulnerable populations from exposure to alcohol marketing.” As an example, the marketing activities of Heineken can be described. International experts consider it a catastrophe that Heineken goes further and further in terms of marketing, in particular at Formula 1 sports. Every year, Heineken reaches around 400 million TV viewers worldwide. Wim van Dalen, President of EUCAM and Director of the Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy STAP says: “This form of sponsoring reaches millions of minors worldwide. Furthermore, alcohol is associated in a positive way with driving – this is totally unacceptable.” Chris Brookes of the UK Health Forum noted that “Governments have previously approved self-regulatory measures on alcohol advertising; however, we can no longer say that they might work to protect our young people – they don’t. In a literature review of more than 100 studies, none was identified that supported the effectiveness of industry self-regulation programmes.” The papers offer guidelines to developing more effective alcohol marketing regulations:
  • The most effective response to alcohol marketing is likely to be a comprehensive ban on alcohol advertising, promotion and sponsorship, in accordance with each country’s constitution or constitutional principles.
  • Regulations should be statutory, and enforced by an appropriate public health agency of the local or national government, not by the alcohol industry.
  • Regulations should be independent of the alcohol industry, whose primary interest lies in growing its markets and maximizing profits.
  • A global agreement on the marketing of alcoholic beverages would support country efforts to move towards a comprehensive ban on alcohol advertising, promotion and sponsorship.
  • Collaboration with other population-level efforts to restrict marketing of potentially harmful products, such as ultra-processed food, sugary beverages, tobacco, and breast-milk substitutes, should be encouraged and supported.
The journal supplement is funded by Alcohol Research UK and the Institute of Alcohol Studies, with the authors and editors of the supplement giving their time to produce these papers pro bono. The papers originated in work undertaken by the UK Health Forum to bring EU and US alcohol policy leads together, with funding from the EU. The specific papers were developed for a meeting on alcohol marketing convened by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).  This collection of papers represents the highest level of scholarly attention devoted to this issue that has been brought together in the pages of one scientific journal. -- Ends – This is a verbatim copy of the press release that has been published here: http://www.addictionjournal.org/press-releases/current-controls-on-alcohol-marketing-are-not-protecting-youth-warn-public-heal  For editors: The Addiction supplement, Alcohol marketing regulation: From research to public policy, is free to download from the Wiley Online Library: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/add.v112.S1/issuetoc Media seeking interviews with lead author Prof. Thomas Babor, Chair, Department of Community Medicine and Health Care, University of Connecticut, can contact him by telephone (+1 860 679 5459) or email (babor@nso.uchc.edu). The UK Health Forum is a registered charity whose mission is to operate as a centre of expertise, working with and through their members to contribute to the prevention of the avoidable non-communicable diseases - coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity, cancer, respiratory diseases and vascular dementia. http://www.ukhealthforum.org.uk Alcohol Research UK is an independent charity that tackles alcohol-related harm by funding high quality, impartial research. http://alcoholresearchuk.org The Institute of Alcohol Studies is a registered charity (number 1112671) aiming to educate, preserve and protect the good health of the public by promoting the scientific understanding of beverage alcohol and the individual, societal and health consequences of its consumption and promoting measures for the prevention of alcohol-related problems and to promote, for the public benefit, research into beverage alcohol and to publish the useful results.  http://www.ias.org.uk/ Addiction is a monthly international scientific journal publishing peer-reviewed research reports on alcohol, illicit drugs, tobacco, and gambling as well as editorials and other debate pieces. Owned by the Society for the Study of Addiction, it has been in continuous publication since 1884. Addiction is the number one journal in the 2016 ISI Journal Citation Reports ranking in the substance abuse category for both science and social science editions.  www.addictionjournal.org
Authors: Jo CranwellRachael Murray, Sarah Lewis, Jo Leonardi-Bee, Martin Dockrell, John Britton Title: Adolescents’ exposure to tobacco and alcohol content in YouTube music videos Journal: Addiction, 2015; 10.1111/add.12835OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Abstract: Aims: To quantify tobacco and alcohol content, including branding, in popular contemporary YouTube music videos; and measure adolescent exposure to such content. Design: Ten-second interval content analysis of alcohol, tobacco or electronic cigarette imagery in all UK Top 40 YouTube music videos during a 12-week period in 2013/14; on-line national survey of adolescent viewing of the 32 most popular high-content videos. Setting: Great Britain. Participants: A total of 2068 adolescents aged 11–18 years who completed an on-line survey. Measurements: Occurrence of alcohol, tobacco and electronic cigarette use, implied use, paraphernalia or branding in music videos and proportions and estimated numbers of adolescents who had watched sampled videos. Findings: Alcohol imagery appeared in 45% [95% confidence interval (CI) = 33–51%] of all videos, tobacco in 22% (95% CI = 13–27%) and electronic cigarettes in 2% (95% CI = 0–4%). Alcohol branding appeared in 7% (95% CI = 2–11%) of videos, tobacco branding in 4% (95% CI = 0–7%) and electronic cigarettes in 1% (95% CI = 0–3%). The most frequently observed alcohol, tobacco and electronic cigarette brands were, respectively, Absolut Tune, Marlboro and E-Lites. At least one of the 32 most popular music videos containing alcohol or tobacco content had been seen by 81% (95% CI = 79%, 83%) of adolescents surveyed, and of these 87% (95% CI = 85%, 89%) had re-watched at least one video. The average number of videos seen was 7.1 (95% CI = 6.8, 7.4). Girls were more likely to watch and also re-watch the videos than boys, P < 0.001. Conclusions: Popular YouTube music videos watched by a large number of British adolescents, particularly girls, include significant tobacco and alcohol content, including branding. The article (full text) can be downloaded via this link.

Images and references to alcohol and tobacco in popular video games may be influencing UK teens who play the games and the age restriction system is not working, according to a new study from The University of Nottingham.

Experts from the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies at The University of Nottingham have carried out the first ever analysis of best-selling video games to find out the extent to which the games include this content and to assess the link between playing the games and drinking and smoking behaviour. They found that teenagers who play video games featuring alcohol and tobacco references appeared to be directly influenced because they were twice as likely to have tried smoking or drinking themselves. The research examined the content of 32 UK best-selling video games of 2012/2013 and carried out a large online survey of adolescents playing games with alcohol and tobacco content. An analysis of 'cut scenes' uploaded by gamers to YouTube from the five most popular games was also carried out. All the games studied were from the genres of stealth, action adventure, open world, shooter and survival/horror because they involve avatars that look and act like real people. The study, published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, found alcohol and tobacco content in 44% of the most popular video games. They also found this content was not reported by the official regulator, the Pan-European Games Information (PEGI) system which informs the Video Standards Council age ratings that help parents decide whether game content is suitable for their children. The researchers used YouGov survey tools to ask 1,094 UK adolescents aged 11-17 whether they had played any of the most popular video games identified as containing either tobacco or alcohol imagery. They were also asked whether and to what extent they smoked or drank alcohol. The study found that adolescents who had played at least one game with tobacco or alcohol content were twice as likely to have tried smoking or consumed alcohol themselves. Out of the top five most popular games, Grand Theft Auto V & VI contained the highest level of alcohol and smoking content using fictitious brands only. The other top games containing these references were Call of Duty:Black Ops II, Call of Duty:Modern Warfare 3 and Assassin's Creed III. There was no electronic cigarette content. Psychologist Dr Joanne Cranwell from the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, said "Although around 54% of UK adolescents play video games online, parental concern over exposure to inappropriate content while playing video games seems to be lower than for other media, like movies for example. While 80% of children aged 10-15 play packaged or online video games with an age rating higher than their age, more than half of British parents are unaware of the harmful content this exposes them to. "Video games are clearly attractive to adolescents regardless of age classification. It appears that official PEGI content descriptors are failing to restrict youth access to age inappropriate content. We think that the PEGI system needs to include both alcohol and tobacco in their content descriptors. Also, game developers could be offered incentives to reduce the amount of smoking and drinking in their games or to at least reference smoking and drinking on their packaging and websites. "As a child protection method it is naïve for both the games industry and the Interactive Software Federation of Europe, who regulate the PEGI system, to rely on age ratings alone. Future research should focus on identifying the levels of exposure in terms of dose that youth gamers are exposed to during actual gameplay and the effects of this on long- term alcohol and smoking behaviour."
Journal Reference:
  1. Jo Cranwell, Kathy Whittamore, John Britton, Jo Leonardi-Bee. Alcohol and Tobacco Content in UK Video Games and Their Association with Alcohol and Tobacco Use Among Young People. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 2016; 19 (7): 426 DOI: 10.1089/cyber.2016.0093
Source: University of Nottingham. "Teenagers influenced by video games with alcohol, smoking content." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 October 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161025114338.htm>. This study has been included in the scientific publications database of EUCAM that can be accessed via this link. 
Authors: Jo Cranwell, Kathy Whittamore, John Britton & Jo Leonardi-Bee Title: Alcohol and tobacco content in UK video games and their association with alcohol and tobacco use among young people Journal: Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 2016; 19 (7): 426 DOI: 10.1089/cyber.2016.0093OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Abstract: To determine the extent to which video games include alcohol and tobacco content and assess the association between playing them and alcohol and smoking behaviors in adolescent players in Great Britain. Assessment of substance in the 32 UK bestselling video games of 2012/2013; online survey of adolescent playing of 17 games with substance content; and content analysis of the five most popular games. A total of 1,094 adolescents aged 11–17 years were included as participants. Reported presence of substance content in the 32 games; estimated numbers of adolescents who had played games; self-reported substance use; semiquantitative measures of substance content by interval coding of video game cut scenes. Nonofficial sources reported substance content in 17 (44 percent) games but none was reported by the official Pan European Game Information (PEGI) system. Adolescents who had played at least one game were significantly more likely ever to have tried smoking (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 2.70, 95 percent confidence interval [CI] 1.75–4.17) or consumed alcohol (adjusted OR 2.35, 95 percent CI 1.70–3.23). In the five most popular game episodes of alcohol actual use, implied use and paraphernalia occurred in 31 (14 percent), 81 (37 percent), and 41 (19 percent) intervals, respectively. Tobacco actual use, implied use, and paraphernalia occurred in 32 (15 percent), 27 (12 percent), and 53 (24 percent) intervals, respectively. Alcohol and tobacco content is common in the most popular video games but not reported by the official PEGI system. Content analysis identified substantial substance content in a sample of those games. Adolescents who play these video games are more likely to have experimented with tobacco and alcohol. The article (full text) can be downloaded via this link in the Liebert Library.
The more brand-specific alcohol advertising that young drinkers are exposed to, the higher their consumption of those brands, according to a new study led by researchers from the School of Public Health and School of Medicine. The study, in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, found an association between past-year exposure to advertising, measured in what the researchers called “adstock” units, and consumption of the brands advertised. Every 100 adstock-unit increase in exposure was associated with an increase of six drinks consumed during the past 30 days, while exposures of 300 or more adstock units were associated with an increase of 55.7 drinks. The study examined links between exposure to brand-specific TV advertising and drinking among a national sample of more than 1,000 youths, ages 13 to 20, who reported drinking in the past 30 days. Participants were surveyed about their past-month viewership of the 20 most popular non-sports shows that contained alcohol ads. They also were asked about their past-month consumption of the 61 brands in those advertisements. The study estimated that the advertised brands accounted for almost 47 percent of all alcohol consumed by the young drinkers, and that there was a “dose-response” relationship between exposure to ads and drinking levels. “The exposure-consumption relationship was particularly strong among those with 300 or more adstock units of exposure,” the researchers said. “There were fewer youth with these higher levels of advertising exposure, but they consumed a disproportionately large amount of the alcohol consumed by the entire youth sample.” The research team noted that while alcohol advertising has been linked with youths’ brand choices in past studies, alcohol marketing remains self-regulated by the industry. Manufacturers have guidelines saying that ads should be limited to media that have a mostly adult audience. But alcohol companies don’t always follow their own guidelines, and there is no penalty for violations. The current study confirms that under-21 audiences are seeing plenty of alcohol ads, the authors said. “Although previous studies have shown that exposure to advertising is related to which brands underage youths drink, few studies have assessed whether the quantity of exposure is associated with the total quantity of alcohol consumed by these youths,” said lead author Timothy Naimi, associate professor of community health sciences and of medicine at BUSM, and a physician at Boston Medical Center. Michael Siegel, the study’s co-principal investigator and professor of community health sciences, said the study suggests that advertising influences “how much kids drink, not just what they drink. “This has important implications because we know that the amount of alcohol consumption is associated with increased risks of harm, including motor vehicle fatalities, suicide and violence. We believe these findings should prompt a reevaluation of the industry’s self-regulatory framework, in order to reduce advertising exposure among underage youth,” he said. Among study participants, the median number of drinks consumed in the past 30 days was five. The average number of drinks consumed increased from 14 to 33 per month as advertising exposure increased from zero to 300 adstock units. For participants exposed to 300 or more adstock units, per-person consumption skyrocketed from 33 drinks to more than 200 drinks consumed in the past 30 days. The authors said they hoped the study would prompt research that further examines the exposure-consumption relationship, especially among youths who have high exposure to ads on TV and in other media. Naimi said that, for parents, the findings offer extra motivation to curb kids’ time in front of the TV, particularly for programming with alcohol advertising. In general, experts recommend that children and teenagers spend a limited amount of time each day in front of a “screen”—whether a TV, computer, or phone. “This could be yet another reason to limit screen time,” Naimi said. Co-authors on the study were: William DeJong, professor of community health sciences; David Jernigan of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; and Craig Ross of Fiorente Media, Inc., also research assistant professor of epidemiology at SPH. The above is a verbatim copy of the press release by Boston University Medical Campus Full text: http://www.jsad.com/doi/abs/10.15288/jsad.2016.77.723 The article has been included in our online databases of scientific publications: http://eucam.info/2016/09/12/naimi-et-al-2016/
Author: Timothy Naimi, Craig Ross, Michael Siegel, William de Jong & David Jernigan Title: Amount of televised alcohol advertising exposure and the quantity of alcohol consumed by youth Journal: Journal of studies on alcohol and drugs (2016), 77(5), 723-729 AbstractOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Aims: Although studies demonstrate that exposure to brand-specific alcohol advertising is associated with an increased likelihood of youth consuming particular brands, the relationship between quantity of brand-specific advertising exposure and quantity of brand-specific consumption has not been firmly established. Methods: Using the Alcohol Brand Research Among Underage Drinkers (ABRAND) national sample of 1,031 young drinkers (ages 13–20), this study examined the relationship between their aggregated past-year exposure to advertising (in adstock units, a measure based on gross rating points) for 61 alcohol brands that advertised on the 20 most popular nonsports television programs viewed by underage youth and their aggregated total consumption of those same brands during the past 30 days. Predictive models adjusted for other media exposure, predictors of youth’s alcohol consumption, and the consumption of brands not advertised on the 20 shows. Results: For the fully adjusted models, each 100 adstock unit increase in exposure (about 1 SD) was associated with an increase of 5.9 drinks (95% CI [0.9, 11.0 drinks]) consumed during the past 30 days among those with less than 300 units of advertising exposure, and an increase of 55.7 drinks (95% CI [13.9, 97.4 drinks]) among those with 300 or more adstock units of exposure. Conclusions: Among underage youth, the quantity of brand-specific advertising exposure is positively associated with the total quantity of consumption of those advertised brands, even after controlling for the consumption of non-advertised brands. Future research should examine exposure–consumption relationships longitudinally and in other media. Full text: http://www.jsad.com/doi/full/10.15288/jsad.2016.77.723
On 4 March 2016, the European Commission (DG Connect) published the final report of the study on the exposure of minors to alcohol advertising on linear and non-linear audio-visual media services and other online services, including a content analysis. The research was conducted by the consortium partners Ecorys and the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) in close collaboration with the following subcontractors: CentERdata, GfK Belgium and individual experts in the field (Prof. Peter Anderson and Prof. David Jernigan). The study found that approximately 7.3% of the total number of alcohol impacts on linear AV media services in 2013 were seen by minors. In absolute terms this means that, on average, a minor saw 200 alcohol impacts, while an adult saw over 450. According to the report, online services and the alcohol industry try to ensure minimal exposure through the implementation of measures and self-regulation, however, minors surveyed perceived a substantial level of exposure, while self-reported exposure increased with age and online activity. The study also found that the most common themes employed in alcohol advertisements include the association of alcohol with sociability and the depiction of drinking with humorous tones. Respectively, 87% and 63% of 90 analysed TV advertisements and 33 online alcohol advertisements contained at least one element that can be considered appealing to minors. In addition, it was found that 25% of the analysed advertisements reflect at least one of the criteria prohibited in the AVMSD. The full report can be found here>> A summary is available here>>
irish-sportssponsorship A new systematic literature study by the Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS) concludes that international studies found a significant link between sports sponsorship and increased alcohol consumption, including among schoolchildren. In Ireland this news has drawn attention back to earlier cancelled plans by the government to ban alcohol sports sponsorship. The study, authored by IAS director Kathrine Brown, was published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism. In it, Brown points out that the association between alcohol sports sponsorship and alcohol use among minors “warranted close attention from public health policymakers”. The research reviewed studies in seven countries, including five in the EU. “All studies report positive associations between exposure to alcohol sports sponsorship and self-reported alcohol consumption,” states the report. “Two studies found indirect exposure to alcohol sports sponsorship was associated with increased levels of drinking amongst schoolchildren, and five studies found a positive association between direct alcohol sports sponsorship and hazardous drinking amongst adult sports-people.” Among the studies included in the review is a study by EUCAMs Avalon de Bruijn from 2012. This Amphora study among 6,650 young students in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Poland found that “exposure to branded sports sponsorship increased the odds of drinking”. A 2009 study among 320 students from Welsh schools found that “awareness of alcohol sponsorship predicted likelihood of boys drinking and of both boys and girls getting drunk the following weekend”. The article notes that France and Norway already have a ban in place against alcohol branded sports sponsorship, while countries such as Ireland and New Zealand are considering this policy intervention. Ireland Irish newspaper the Irish Examiner picked up the publication of the article and said that: ‘Given the lack of Irish research on the matter, it will be of interest to health experts and departmental officials here.’ The Examiner describes the history of the ambitious plans to ban alcohol sports sponsorship and what ended up happening. It starts with referring to a report of the government’s National Substance Misuse Strategy Steering Group which in February 2012 recommended that alcohol sponsorship of sports events be phased out by 2016. This recommendation was strongly opposed by sporting organisations and the alcohol industry. Accordingly, a decision on the subject was postponed by the Government’s action plan on alcohol, which in October 2013 left the issue to a working group. This group in turn reported at the end of 2014 that evidence of the links between sponsorship and consumption was limited. The major sporting bodies argued that they would suffer a significant loss of revenue if sports sponsorship were to be banned. In reaction to this conflicting views came up on alternative sources of sponsorship and the work group said further work was needed to identify the options for Government. The issue of alcohol branded sports sponsorship is not covered in the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015, which was published in December, other than prohibiting alcohol advertising in sports grounds for events where a majority of participants are children. The abstract of the systematic literature study can be found here>> The full text is available on the website of Alcohol and Alcoholism>> Source: Irish Examiner 03/01/16 For more information on the Irish debate about sports sponsorship also see: ALCOHOL ADS ON THE SIDE OF SPORTS FIELDS TO BE BANNED IN IRELAND? 11/08/15 VIDEO: DR. PAT KENNY DISCUSSING ALCOHOL MARKETING BEFORE THE OIREACHTAS 08/02/15 IRISH BAN ON ALCOHOL SPORTS SPONSORING TO BE DROPPED 01/25/15 TEENS PREFER ALCOHOL BRANDS THEY KNOW THROUGH SPONSORSHIP 12/16/14 EUCAM COMMENTARY IN UPCOMING ISSUE OF ADDICTION: REFUTING ARGUMENTS AGAINST A BAN ON ALCOHOL SPORT SPONSORSHIP 08/29/14 IRISH GOVERNMENT FINALIZES ALCOHOL STRATEGY: NO BAN ON SPORTS SPONSORSHIP 10/24/13 IRELAND: REVIEW COMMITTEE OPPOSES BAN ON ALCOHOL BRANDED SPORT SPONSORSHIP 07/08/13 IRISH MEDIA REPORT BAN ON ALCOHOL BRANDED SPORT SPONSORING WILL BE APPROVED 07/29/13 RESEARCH SHOWS THAT ALCOHOL MARKETING IS NOT HARMLESS 06/26/13 IRELAND: POLICY MAKERS NOT PREPARED TO DO WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE AGAINST ALCOHOL 03/16/13 FEATURE OF IRISH ALCOHOL STRATEGY UNCERTAIN AS MINISTER RESIGNS 10/01/12 MINISTER DEDICATED TO BANNING ALCOHOL SPORT SPONSORING IN IRELAND 05/25/12 IRELAND TO BAN ALCOHOL SPORTS SPONSORSHIP? 02/07/12 IRISH DEBATE ABOUT ALCOHOL MARKETING FLARES UP 11/201/11      
2015 is the year that the EUs Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) will be put under review and is expected to be updated significantly. Currently, the AVMSD is the only law regulating media throughout the whole EU. IOGT-NTO, UNF, EUROCARE and EUCAM  think the 2015 review of the AVMSD is the perfect opportunity to improve the existing law in order to protect minors from the harmful effects of alcohol marketing. Together we invite alcohol-, youth-, and health NGOs to this seminar to become informed about the importance of the AVMSD, the influence of alcohol marketing and to discuss the problems in the curent version of the AVMSD.

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PROGRAM 09:00 Opening 09.10 Welcome and Introduction 09:20 Alcohol sponsorship in the AVMSD, by EUROCARE 09:35 Alcohol marketing attractive to young people, by EUCAM 09:50 Problem of trans-border broadcasts, byIOGT-NTO 10:05 Exposure to alcohol marketing, young people’s perspective, by UNF 10:20 BREAK 10:35 Introduction on the AVMSD REFIT timeline and discussion on strategy to adopt the AVMSD for restricting alcohol marketing. 11:00 Planning the way forward in our strategy 11.30 Conclusions and final remarks VENUE  EUROCARE Office  Rue Archimede 17, 3rd floor B-1000Brussels, Belgium

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