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Effects Of Alcohol Advertisements On Youth

1435 words - 6 pages

“Two teens dead and another hospitalized after a single car crash and police say that drinking and driving was the cause,” the news reporter continued.
“Fifteen is no age to die!” Will exclaimed.
“Fifteen is no age to drink and drive either,” added Oskar.
“What persuades these ‘little doves’ to drink?” Susan asked.
“I would blame the alcohol advertisements for that,” answered Oskar.
“Hahaha....are you out of your mind? How can advertisements persuade someone to drink? You can surely think of something better,” laughed Will.
I feel dizzy listening to their conversation. I never thought a quiet evening could turn into an argument over a news report and some irresponsible teenagers. However, I must admit, it made my brain do some serious thinking.
Could alcohol advertisements have a negative effect on youth?
Could alcohol advertisements urge young men and women to try their hand at drinking?
Could alcohol advertisements indirectly be the cause of most traffic accidents that take place under the influence of alcohol?
There are infinite questions.....but very few people to provide satisfactory answers.
Alcohol is one of the leading drug problems among youth. Drinking results in a panoply of negative consequences, including poor grades, risky sex, alcohol addiction and car crashes. Every day, 7,000 individuals younger than 16 years of age take their first drink (Jernigan 100). While many factors may influence an underage person’s drinking decisions, including among other things parents, peers and the media, there is reason to believe that advertising also plays a role.
As anyone who is a teen can attest, media is among the most powerful forces in young people’s lives today. Before graduating from high school, students spend about 18,000 hours in front of the television- more time than they spend in school. During this time they watch about 2,000 alcohol commercials on television each year (Jordan and Trentacoste 25). Alcohol advertisements reach youth not only through television, but also through varied media, such as billboards, magazines, sports stadium signs, and on mass transit such as subway stations. In the 1990’s the alcohol industry used cartoon and animal characters to attract young viewers which were overwhelmingly admired by youth. In 1996, for example, the Budweiser Frogs were more recognizable to children aged 9-11 than the Power Rangers or Tony the Tiger (Grube and Waiters 698). Even today, alcohol advertising hasn’t undergone any major changes. A study on the responses of young people to alcohol advertising found that underage youth are drawn to music; animal and people characters, story and humour in alcohol advertising and these ads have a great influence on their desire to drink (Grube and Waiters 702).
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, incidence of onset of alcohol peaks at age 18 years and trails off by the age of 25. The Centers for Disease Control and Promotion estimate that more than 4,000...

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