Hopkins Study Finds Too Many Youth Are Exposed To Alcohol Ads

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Christie Ileto joined WJZ's News Team in the fall of 2012. She was...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Too many young people catch too many alcohol ads on TV. It’s a trend Hopkins researchers say is on the rise and shouldn’t be.

Christie Ileto explains one out of four alcohol ads aired during national programming watched by young people.

Viewers say they see alcohol ads, “pretty often, especially around this time of year with, like, football and stuff,” said Ashley Deckman.

In 2003, alcohol companies agreed not to air any ads during programs where more than 30 percent of the audience watching is young.

Dr. David Jernigan authors a new study that shows that agreement isn’t exactly being followed.

“Close to one in four of the alcohol ads were playing at times when they shouldn’t have been,” Jernigan said.

Jernigan says this is most prevalent in cities like Houston and in Baltimore, where one in five alcohol ads aired when they shouldn’t have.

“If we removed those (ads), we would have eliminated close to a third of the exposure of alcohol advertising that kids got on those programs,” Jernigan said.

The Distilled Spirits Council, which represents the leading producers and marketers of distilled spirits, says its “member companies rigorously comply with the 71.6 percent adult demographic required by our industry code. The FTC regularly monitors our advertising and has concluded our ads are directed to adults.”

“Our response is these are the numbers. We’re using Neilson. According to our study, they’re apparently not using them. We think they could do a better job,” Jernigan said.

Experts say long-term exposure to alcohol ads increases the chances of underage kids to begin drinking and drink more if they already do.

“I don’t think it’s really that big an issue if you talk to your kids,” said Kevin Grabau, parent.

But some parents say deterring your kids from alcohol starts at home.

The report says that most of those alcohol ads air during cable programming, such as “Keeping up with the Kardashians” or “Deadliest Warrior.”

Studies show the average TV watcher between ages 12 and 20 views 366 alcohol ads a year.

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