Underage Youth Overexposed To Liquor Ads: Georgetown
But "Monitoring the Future," a federally commissioned report from the University of Michigan, will suggest that increased ad exposure doesn't make any difference, because underage drinking nationwide is actually on the decline.
CAMY cited Viacom's Comedy Central, VH1 and BET as three stations where "youth were consistently overexposed to alcohol advertising every year from 2001-05," with youth more likely to see alcohol ads on those three networks than adults 21-34.
"Youth exposure to alcohol is moving in the wrong direction," said CAMY executive director David Jernigan in a prepared statement. "Twenty state attorneys general and the Institute of Medicine have said the alcohol industry needs to do a better job of shielding our kids from its advertising."
Frank Coleman, senior vice president for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), took issue with CAMY's findings. "CAMY is aware of the [council's] guidelines, the process [for filing complaints] and has, in fact, praised DISCUS's public reports," he said. "It has never filed a single complaint about any distilled spirits advertisement on cable TV." Coleman called the industry's advertising code "one of the most rigorous of any group in the U.S."
The code confines alcohol advertising to media where 70% of the audience is at least 21 years old.
What's more, Coleman said, government studies, including the one set for release today, show underage drinking among youth has declined from 2001 to 2005.
Jernigan says that may be so, but it's not because of restraint by alcohol marketers. CAMY finds alcohol use among youth is "flat or slightly down," he says, because of the "huge effort to reduce youth access to alcohol," including age checks at liquor outlets.