Online alcohol marketing linked to drinking among European teens

Kathryn Doyle
Most alcohol advertisers have pledged to voluntarily limit ads targeting teens but the nature of the internet makes it very hard to monitor and enforce these regulations

Adolescents in Europe may be just as susceptible to online alcohol marketing as their counterparts elsewhere, according to a recent study in four countries that links the ads with kids’ likelihood of drinking and of binge drinking.

The students answered questions about having seen promotional emails or joke emails mentioning alcohol brands and websites for alcohol brands or whose content was about drinking. They were also asked about using mobile phone or computer screensavers containing an alcohol brand name or logo and about having used a profile website on social media that contained an alcohol advertisement.

Two-thirds said they had noticed an alcohol ad online, and one third had used a profile website with an alcohol ad. One fourth received promotional emails containing alcohol advertisements and one in five looked at websites for alcohol brands. The proportion of kids who had downloaded a screensaver featuring an alcohol brand ranged from just under one in three in Italy to one in six in Poland.

In each country, higher exposure to online alcohol marketing was tied to greater odds of being a drinker and of binge drinking, according to the results in Alcohol and Alcoholism.

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