Media Essay - It’s Time to Ban the Advertising of Alcoholic Beverages
Everywhere we go, we're bombarded by all sorts of advertisements. We can seldom go through one day without receiving at least one phone call from a telemarketer. Turn on the TV for 15 or 20 minutes and you'll see at least one 5-minute commercial break. Advertisements are abundant everywhere we go: alongside roads, at airports, and at train stations. Why is advertising so popular, why do so many companies pump millions of dollars each year into advertising? The answer is simple: ads inform people of products they otherwise wouldn't have heard of, they make products look appealing to so that people will buy them, and they allow advertisers to influence the general public to purchase their product. Generally speaking, this isn't a problem – companies make money and people get the products they need and want. What about products, though, that hurt, rather than help, people, products such as alcohol? Should advertising of such products, products that give way to so much harm, be allowed?
The biggest argument for the banning of advertising for alcoholic beverages points out the strong negative effects of alcohol on our society and the problems associated with alcohol. Alcoholism is a disease. According to the government-run NIAAA, or the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcoholism has a few easy to recognize symptoms. First of all, alcoholics have an addiction to alcohol. They constantly have a desire to consume more alcohol. This strong desire for alcohol leads to a loss of control. Rather than choosing when to drink and limiting the amount of alcohol consumption, alcoholics are controlled by their alcoholism. This desire is often overwhelming in nature and takes first priority in an alcoholic's life, even over such things as family, career, and so forth. The loss of control ties in closely with physical dependence on alcohol – if, by whatever means, the alcoholic attempts to quit, he or she experiences withdrawal symptoms. As an alcoholic continues to drink more and more and become increasingly dependent on alcohol, he or she gains tolerance to alcohol – in order to get drunk, the alcoholic must consume more alcohol.
An explanation of alcoholism is not enough to persuade most people to ban alcohol advertising. Most fail to recognize the vast amount of people that alcoholism and other alcohol related problems effect. Many studies have been done and many statistics have been gathered to show the grim reality of alcohol-related problems. In the United States, there are 100,000 alcohol-related deaths each year, which puts it at slot number three in the list of the top causes of preventable death in the nation. Approximately two-thirds of domestic violence and sexual assaults involve alcohol in one way or another and one-half of all murders in the nation involve alcohol. Among the nation's high school students, 81% have used alcohol at least once, and 30%...