Could alcohol ads contribute to underage drinking? Show Notes

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 Host(s): Dr. Bill Maier
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A new study on alcohol commercials has found a link between watching those ads on TV and underage drinking. 

Dr. Susanne Tanski is a professor at Dartmouth University and the lead author on the study. She says that kids who are familiar with alcohol ads are more likely to drink.

Other factors that correlated with higher rates of teen drinking included seeing alcohol in movies, having a favorite alcohol advertisement,, having parents who drink at least once a week, and having peers who drink.

Dr. Tanski says, “The alcohol industry employs voluntary standards to direct their advertising to audiences comprised of adults of legal drinking age.

“Our findings demonstrate that underage youth still frequently see these ads. While this study cannot determine which came first—the exposure to advertising or the drinking behavior—it does suggest that alcohol advertising may play a role in underage drinking.”

Dr Tanski and her fellow academics believe the standards for alcohol ads should be more strict.

As a family psychologist, I’ve seen the stats on underage drinking in America and they are very troubling. 

Teens under the age of 21 drink 20% percent of the alcohol consumed in the U.S.

36% of kids have their first drink of alcohol by the 8th grade.

And believe it or not, 1 out of 3 high school students in America admit to binge drinking at least once a month!

And For some great advice on talking to your kids about alcohol, visit the website of the National Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. You can find them at

I’m Bill Maier for family-friendly, commercial free, WBCL.

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