A preliminary study by Morgane Guillou Landreat, Céline Beauvais, Marie Grall Bronnec, Delphine Le Goff, Jean Yves Le reste, Delphine Lever, Antoine Dany and Karine Gallopel Morvan. From the Université de Bretagne Occidentale, Addictologie de liaison , Pole 3 , 1 étage, Hôpital de la Cavale Blanche , Bld Tanguy Prigent, 29200 Brest, France and University of Nantes / Tours, Tours, France. 

Alcohol Use Disorders (AUD) are among the most prevalent mental disorders in the world. They are the leading risk factor for premature mortality and disability among 15 to 49-year-olds. Links between alcohol marketing and patterns of alcohol consumption are well defined in adolescents but there is few data on the impact of alcohol marketing on a population of drinkers with an AUD and seeking treatment. This study was designed in collaboration among researchers specialising in addictive disorders, in social marketing and primary care.

This study is a single center cross-sectional descriptive study. It was a preliminary step, part of a larger study funded by the French National Institute for Cancer Control (INCA) on the impact of alcohol marketing on people with AUD. The study protocol has been published previously.

Patients were recruited in the addictology department of Brest University Hospital from March 2019 to June 2019. This 4 months recruitment period was decided for feasibility reasons: it corresponded to the period of avail- ability of investigators who included the patients. Partici- pation in this study was offered to every drinker with an AUD who had a consultation in the centre specialising in addictive disorders during the inclusion period. Par- ticipants were not randomised.

Very few studies have focused on alcohol marketing ex- posure among patients with AUD seeking treatment, and none included beverage preferences.

72.5% of the patients with AUD reported that they were not influenced by alcohol marketing, but 76% of the patients recalled alcohol-related advertising in the previous 6months. No significant statistical differences appeared according to gender or age for this variable. Alcohol marketing cues are unconsciously absorbed. The unconscious mental processes in consumers’ choices have been modelled by several authors. According to these models, human behaviours are guided by automatic processes, including behavioural mimicry, trait and stereotype activation, and noncon- scious goal pursuit. 

Among the media mentioned, poster advertising, and par- ticularly bus-shelter poster advertising, were cited by 43% of the sample. These poster advertisements are present in public places with pedestrian and road traffic, close to schools and therefore the risk of exposure is high. Maga- zines were also cited by 17% of the sample and, surprisingly, television by 9%.

This unexpected result is consistent with a French study on adolescents, where 30.2% reported having been exposed to television advertising at least once a week. 

Regarding the marketing of the “product” and the criteria that made the product attractive, the most frequently cited aspects were the type of beverage, the alcohol percent and the brand. In this study, 42.6% had a preferred brand, and those reporting a preferred brand were more often aged 19–50 years (p = 0.03). One specificity associated with women was identified: they reported significantly more often (58.4%) than men (41.6%) that packaging made the product attractive but it did not appear as a factor influen- cing alcohol purchases.

When buying alcohol, the main criteria involved were the price (39.5%), accessibility (25%), the brand (24%) and the alcohol percent (18%).

Spirits are the most extensively consumed forms of alco- hol and they are defined as luxury products. In our study, 27.5% reported having first started drinking with this type of alcohol, and 38.5% were consuming spirits at AUD onset; 27.5% currently consume more spirits than other forms of alcohol. Those who identified spirits as their preferred beverage were significantly more likely to have a higher income than wine or beer consumers, and also to have an history of spirits consumption in their family and to have started their alcohol consumption with spirits. 

Wine was the most commonly consumed alcohol, after beer, by 39.6% of patients with AUD, it was also one of the most frequently consumed beverages at the onset of AUD for 38.4% of the patients, equal to spirits.

This study showed that vulnerable patients with an AUD were widely exposed to alcohol marketing cues, without being aware of this exposure. Many media used in alcohol advertising were cited by patients (posters, magazines, television..), and associated factors influencing the purchase of alcohol, such as price and availability, were widely identified., as were beverage preferences. These preliminary results, which need to be confirmed in a future study, are in line with recent French expert recommendations on alcohol regulation. 

Read the full article in detail through this link: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/346542543_Alcohol_use_disorders_beverage_preferences_and_the_influence_of_alcohol_marketing_a_preliminary_study . 

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