Are we taking too narrow a view on the impact of alcohol advertising?

There is currently limited, low quality evidence on whether restrictions on alcohol advertising have an impact on alcohol consumption. Focusing only on this evidence could lead to poorly informed policy decisions based on a narrow understanding of how alcohol advertising influences alcohol use.

In this collaboration with colleagues from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the UCL Institute of Education among others, we put forward the case for a systems perspective of the relationship between alcohol advertising, advertising restrictions, and alcohol consumption.

A systems-level analysis would consider findings from multiple systematic reviews alongside the broader evidence base to understand how alcohol advertising fits into a complex web of interrelated factors (the ‘alcohol system’) contributing to alcohol consumption.

Alcohol advertising and public health: systems perspectives versus narrow perspectives. Petticrew, Shemilt, Lorenc, Marteau, Melendez-Torres, O’Mara-Eves, Stautz, Thomas, 2017.

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