Does alcohol marketing influence drinking?

adsbeerRestricting alcohol marketing is suggested to be a cost-effective policy option to reduce alcohol consumption. There is debate as to whether alcohol marketing exposure leads to increased drinking.

In a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized, experimental studies, we found that participants who viewed alcohol advertising consumed more alcohol after viewing than those who viewed non-alcohol advertising; equivalent to between 0.39 and 2.67 alcohol units for males and between 0.25 and 1.69 units for females. This was based on combining results from seven studies.

We did not find evidence that viewing alcohol portrayals in TV programmes or films led to increased drinking, based on combining results from six studies.

These results lend some qualified support to the public health case for restrictions, bans, or other policies that would reduce exposure to alcohol advertising on visual broadcast media to reduce alcohol consumption.

Immediate effects of alcohol marketing communications and media portrayals on consumption and cognition: a systematic review and meta-analysis of experimental studies. Stautz*, Brown*, King, Shemilt, Marteau, 2016. (* = joint first authors)

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