Report on the Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Children and Young People’s Exposure to Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship
This report examines the available evidence on the nature and extent of alcohol advertising and sponsorship in Australia, and the impact of exposure to alcohol advertising and sponsorship on children and young people’s drinking attitudes and behaviour. There are over 40 peer reviewed empirical studies (longitudinal and cross-sectional) in this area involving approximately 100,000 children, from Australia, New Zealand, Europe, the United States, and the United Kingdom. The studies are consistent in showing that exposure of children and young people to alcohol advertising and sponsorship is associated with earlier age of initiation of alcohol use in previously non-users, and more heavy alcohol use in children and young people who are already consuming alcohol.
The evidence base suggests that more frequent exposure to alcohol advertising and sponsorship is associated with more problematic alcohol attitudes and alcohol use behaviours. There is also evidence suggesting that the content of alcohol advertising and sponsorship messages has an effect on children and young people’s engagement and liking of alcohol. There is, however, limited evidence on the impact of online alcohol marketing on young people’s alcohol-related attitudes and drinking behaviour. International research involving multiple countries shows that jurisdictions that have implemented stricter alcohol advertising and sponsorship regulations have lower rates of heavy alcohol use.
The evidence base suggests that there are several effective means and opportunities for protecting children and young people from exposure to alcohol advertising, four of which stand out as areas for action.
- Stronger restrictions/bans on alcohol advertising and sponsorship on television at times when children are known to be watching, and particularly in live sport where alcohol advertising and sponsorship is allowed at any time of the day;
- Remove alcohol sponsorship from sport;
- Strengthen regulation of the content of alcohol advertising; and,
- Develop responsive regulation to online and digital alcohol advertising.Implementation of this four-point plan will position Australia as one of the world leaders in evidence-based public health approaches to protecting children and young people from the harmful effects of alcohol advertising..