Should We Stop Advertising Alcohol?

The tobacco industry was hit hard when it was determined that they could not advertise their products on television or radio. The decision was made after considering overwhelming evidence that tobacco caused different types of cancers, lung diseases and was dangerous to children. However, alcohol companies have been able to continue advertising, despite the clear dangers associated with heavy alcohol use. Some people are looking to put an end to this, especially after a new study was published, focusing on alcohol advertisements.

The study concluded that alcohol advertising should be more regulated, specifically to protect children. The study focused on how often children were exposed to alcohol advertisements. It was discovered that sporting events were responsible for some of the most exposure for children to alcohol ads. This would make sense, events like the Super Bowl are viewed by as many 100 million people, making it an advertiser’s dream. In fact, some of the most iconic Super Bowl commercials have been about alcohol. After all, who can forget the Budweiser Clydesdale horses? But, many of these viewers are children. And if it was deemed unsafe and irresponsible to advertise tobacco products, why is it ok to advertise alcohol to children?

In the past alcohol companies have been tasked with monitoring themselves when it comes to advertisement placement. This means that alcohol companies do not advertise on children’s channels, or in children’s magazines. But this type of self-editing does not seem to be working, according to the study.

“Governments have previously approved self-regulatory measures on alcohol advertising; however, we can no longer say that they might work to protect our young people – they don’t. In a literature review of more than 100 studies, none was identified that supported the effectiveness of industry self-regulation programs,” commented Chris Brooke of the UK Health Forum, where the study took place.

Included in the study is a list of suggested changes made to current advertisement policies that would decrease the amount of exposure children have to alcohol. The most extreme suggestion is that there should be a ban on all alcohol advertising, but the list also includes things like; regulations should be enforced by the government – not the alcohol companied and regulations should be developed outside of the alcohol companies.

Revisiting Alcohol’s Supposed Benefits

Updated research on the potential benefits of consuming a small amount of alcohol shows that it may not be all that healthy. After pouring over ten years’ worth of information, scientists believe they have located the original study’s mistakes and how these mistakes may have led to an increased amount of people consuming alcohol, buying into the notion that a glass of wine a day is good for your heart.

Researchers today say that the study promoting wine for heat health was poorly ran and made some glaring errors. The first error was that they combined people who have never consumed alcohol in the same group as people who used to be drinkers. Former alcoholics are likely to have health problems and experience depression. So, when researchers compared the health of people who consumed moderate amounts of alcohol to a group of people that consisted, in part, of former alcoholics they mistakenly came to the conclusion that those who drank in moderation were healthier.

“Given the harms attributed to alcohol use, it is not surprising that reports showing possible mortality benefits for low level users attracted enthusiasm among consumers, the media the alcohol industry. In health as elsewhere, if something looks too good to be true, it should be treated with great caution,” explained Craig Knott, lead author and researcher of the new meta study.

Ensuring that the public has the right information is vital. People who are inclined to drink too much are likely to use any excuse to justify this behavior. If a study comes out stating that some alcohol is healthy for a person that is just the reason someone may need to continue drinking and making poor decisions. Additionally, the perception that alcohol is healthy goes against what most people believe in the first place.