J Stud Alcohol Drugs Suppl. 2020 Mar;Sup 19:113-124.;
This article summarizes the findings of narrative and systematic literature reviews focused on the relationship between exposure to alcohol marketing and youth drinking, viewed in context of criteria for causality. We also consider the implications of this proposition for alcohol policy and public health.
Our descriptive synthesis of findings is from 11 narrative and systematic reviews using the nine Bradford Hill causality criteria: (a) strength of association, (b) consistency, (c) specificity of association, (d) temporality, (e) biological gradient, (f) biological plausibility, (g) coherence, (h) experimental evidence, and (i) analogy.
Evidence of causality for all nine of the Bradford Hill criteria was found across the review articles commissioned for this supplement and in other previously published reviews. In some reviews, multiple Bradford Hill criteria were met. The reviews document that a substantial amount of empirical research has been conducted in a variety of countries using different but complementary research designs.
The research literature available today is consistent with the judgment that the association between alcohol marketing and drinking among young persons is causal.