Alcohol advertising on radio, television and magazines reached more African American youth than their peers in 2003 and 2004 on a per capita basis, according to a report by the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at Georgetown University. During this same period, overall youth exposure to alcohol advertising in magazines and on radio has declined, but this report finds that African American youth continue to be exposed at higher levels than their peers -- and drink less.
According to the center, 19 percent of the Black youth used alcohol within 30 days prior to the survey, compared to about 33 percent of Whites. Further, Black youth reported "binge" drinking at 10 percent, compared to Whites at 23 percent. Binge drinking is considered as five or more drinks at one sitting, and can be associated with health, social and economic problems, and is harmful for adolescent development.
Alcohol use is closely tied to the three leading causes of death among African American youth ages 12 to 20: unintentional injuries (including motor vehicle crashes), homicides, and suicides.
Key findings from the report include:
• African American youth heard more radio advertising per capita than youth in general for alcohol in nine of the 10 largest radio markets in 2003, and six of the top 10 markets - New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston-Galveston, and Detroit - in 2004.
• Alcohol advertisers put ads on all of the 15 television programs most popular among African American youth in 2003 and in 2004. These programs included "Girlfriends," "Half & Half," "CSI" and "Without a Trace."
• Twelve-to-20-year-olds saw 15 percent more for beer and 10 percent more for distilled spirits per capita than adults age 21 and over; and generally, Black youth saw more advertising for both products than youth in general.
• In national magazines, Black youth saw 34 percent more alcohol advertising than youth in general, 21 percent more for beer and ale, 42 percent more for distilled spirits; and
• Fourteen magazines (including Sports Illustrated, Vibe, Stuff, Entertainment Weekly, the Source, InStyle and Vogue), accounted for 75 percent of Black youth's exposure in 2004.
• Colt 45 Malt Liquor accounted for nearly one-third of Black youth exposure to radio advertising and along with Hennesey Cognac, which most disproportionately exposed Black youth compared to all youth
"As long as alcohol use plays a part in the leading causes of death for African American youth, parents and policy makers have reason to be gravely concerned about the barrage of alcohol advertising reaching their children," said David Jernigan, executive director of the Center.
Alcohol is the drug most commonly used by both African American youth and adults. Alcohol products and imagery pervade African American youth culture, as well as American culture in general. Several recent long-term studies funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism have documented a link between youth exposure to alcohol advertising and youth alcohol consumption.
In 2003, alcohol industry trade associations agreed to voluntary guidelines for their members that limited advertising in measured media to places where the youth audience is 30 percent or less. However, since youth ages 12 to 20 make up approximately 15 percent of the U.S. population ages 12 and older, the 30 percent industry threshold permits youth to be exposed to alcohol advertising at a rate that is double their share of the population. The Center did not explain why Black youth consumed less alcohol despite the fact they were exposed to more alcohol advertising.
Also in 2003, the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine recommended that the alcohol industry move toward a 15 percent threshold. In May 2006, 20 state attorneys general expressed their support for a 15 percent standard in comments sent to the Federal Trade Commission. To date, no alcohol company has agreed to move below the current 30 percent standard.
"Ongoing, independent monitoring and reporting of youth exposure shows that African American youth are still being overexposed compared to other youth," said Jernigan. (Press Releases & NNPA)