Although big tobacco companies ended their television advertising campaigns in the 1960s, the alcoholic beverage industry continues to utilize television as a key form of publicity. While it is commonly believed that TV advertising influences people’s decisions on products and brands, a new study published in JAMA Pediatrics also links it to adolescents engaging in underage drinking. Dartmouth researchers surveyed over 2,500 adolescents regarding their viewing of TV advertisements for alcohol and receptivity. They then compared “alcohol receptivity scores” based on their ad viewing to their choices of drinking, binge drinking, and hazardous drinking. The higher the alcohol receptivity score, the more likely the adolescents were to engage in underage alcohol consumption. Alcohol is the most commonly used substance by this young age group and continues to be a problem. Will changing how alcohol companies advertise also change underage drinking patterns? This study is a step in that direction to determine causes and help to prevent underage drinking.

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