Major findings released re: costs of alcohol harm, advertising impact

November 9, 2015

general mills
Two major reports from alcohol policy researchers shine a light on the burden from drinking on citizen and government checkbooks, as well as the strong associations between brand advertising and the alcohol brands that underage youth drink.

A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals clear evidence that the costs from excessive alcohol use continue to drain the American Economy. In four years the cost of excessive drinking climbed fifteen cents per drink, due to decreased workplace productivity and healthcare costs. Excessive alcohol consumption is the third-leading preventable cause of death in the United States.

And while the cost of alcohol-related harm continues to rise, alcohol marketing and advertising is also at an all time high. Another new study from researchers at Boston University and Johns Hopkins University reveals a direct link between underage drinking and brand-specific advertisements, both on TV and in magazines. Underage drinkers were found to be five times more likely to consume alcohol brands that are advertised.

The best buys of effective alcohol policy - increased price/taxes, limited outlet density, and restrictions on alcohol advertising - are indicated in these findings. Effective alcohol policy is needed to reduce harm and costs, and to save lives, in the U.S. and around the globe.