9 May 2024; by 

In a new study published in Health Promotion Journal of Australia, La Trobe University researchers found large support for a browser plug-in that blocks online alcohol-related imagery to prevent young people being influenced to start drinking alcohol or drinking to excess.

Lead researcher from La Trobe’s Center for Alcohol Policy Research, Maree Patsouras, said depictions of alcohol were common online, and there was a clear relationship between alcohol exposure and alcohol use.

“A large portion of the people we interviewed in this study believed that viewing online alcohol imagery could cause temptation and cravings to drink alcohol,” Ms. Patsouras said. “The majority of our participants believed that a browser plug-in that blocked alcohol imagery was an easy intervention tool for both  and people experiencing alcohol-related problems or trying to reduce their drinking. “The evidence collected from this study could help support future health promotion strategies to consider the development of such software.”

The study participants described being exposed to alcohol-related advertising online, regardless of whether they were actively searching for it. Participants indicated that online alcohol exposure served as a reminder to drink and brought alcohol to the forefront of their minds, even if they were not considering drinking beforehand.

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More information: Maree Patsouras et al, Support for a browser plug‐in blocking online alcohol imagery among Australian participants: A qualitative interview study, Health Promotion Journal of Australia (2024). DOI: 10.1002/hpja.863

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