Research Indicates Strong Link between Alcohol Advertising and Underage DUI

In California, a person below the age of 21 who is arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol can face severe DUI penalties. In fact, DUI offenses are very often treated as minor driving offenses, by teens and young adults who do not realize how serious these charges are, and the long-term consequences of these penalties.

New research seems to indicate that when teenagers are exposed to brand-specific alcohol advertising on television, they have a much higher risk of binge drinking and other destructive behaviors.

The research found that young drinkers were approximately 3 times more likely to choose specific alcohol brands, when they were exposed to alcohol advertising during television shows. Unrestricted alcohol advertising has also earlier been linked to an increased risk of binge drinking, underage DUI and other forms of destructive drinking practices involving teenagers and young adults below the age of 21.

Alcohol companies specifically target young adults as part of their advertising campaigns, because this is a category of drinkers that tends to drink heavily. Binge drinking, for instance, is much more popular with teenagers, and the below- 25 category, than with older adults. Binge drinking refers to the consumption of at least five alcoholic beverages in a single session, and is strongly linked to DUI.

Overall, there have been at least 14 studies that show clearly that when young people are exposed to extensive amounts of alcohol advertising, they're much more likely to drink. If they are already drinking, they are likely to drink even more.

There has been speculation that the alcohol industry also uses “name dropping” techniques of alcohol brand names in popular music lyrics, to target young drinkers. Anti-drunk driving groups have called for stronger restrictions on advertising of alcohol brands by the industry.