Bain, E., Scully, M., Wakefield, M., Durkin, S., & White, v. (2022). Association between single-channel and cumulative exposure to alcohol advertising and drinking behaviours among Australian adolescents. Drug and Alcohol Review.



Widespread commercial promotion of alcohol products in Australia undermines the abstinence message for young people. This study aims to document the frequency of adolescents’ exposure to alcohol advertising and examine associations with drinking behaviours.


Students aged 12–17 years (n = 3618) participating in a cross-sectional survey self-reported their exposure to alcohol advertising via eight sources. Students also indicated whether they had never consumed alcohol, consumed at least a few sips of alcohol in their lifetime but none in the past month (‘irregular drinkers’) or consumed more than 10 drinks in their lifetime including at least one drink in the past month (‘drinkers’). Multinomial logistic regression analyses examined associations between both single-channel and cumulative exposure to alcohol advertising and drinking status, controlling for sex, age and education sector.


Television (61%), the internet (56%) and at sporting events (50%) were the most common channels through which students reported seeing alcohol advertising. Weekly exposure via each of the eight assessed channels was associated with being a drinker (vs. a non-drinker or an irregular drinker, respectively), whereas only weekly exposure via television and sporting events was associated with being an irregular drinker (vs. a non-drinker). As students’ level of cumulative exposure to alcohol advertising increased, so too did their likelihood of being a drinker.

Discussion and Conclusions

Alcohol advertising exposure is positively associated with drinking among Australian adolescents. Tighter restrictions on alcohol advertising across all media in Australia may reduce adolescent exposure and help de-normalise alcohol use.

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