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12/03/2009

Alcohol advertising influences adolescents' alcohol consumption, concludes Science Group of Alcohol and Health Forum.

On 11th of March, the Science Group of the European Alcohol & Health Forum presented a report on the impact of alcohol marketing on the volume and drinking patterns of alcohol consumption by young people.

The Science Group, composed of public health as well as industry affiliated scientists, unanimously adopted the report, thus going against the long standing stance of the industry that advertising only serves to reinforce brand allegiance, but does not lead to increased consumption.

The overall description of the studies found consistent evidence to demonstrate an impact of alcohol advertising on the uptake of drinking among non drinking young people, and increased consumption among their drinking peers.

These findings are particularly worrying given that the studies focused solely on the impact of advertising, which represents only a small part of the industry's wider marketing strategy (i.e. sponsorship, merchandising, viral marketing and product placement).

The European Alcohol and Health Forum was set up by the Health Directorate of European Commission in 2007; this multistakeholder platform bring together some fifty NGOs and economic operators, including alcohol producers, retailers, advertisers, and publishers, pledging to take actions to reduce alcohol related harm.

The Forum constitutes the backbone of the EU Alcohol Strategy, adopted by Member States in 2006 in response to the need of coordinating action to reduce high levels of alcohol consumption and alcohol related harm in Europe.

Download the full report here