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YOU'VE AD A FEW; Alcohol adverts DO increase drinking among young people.

Byline: By RUKI SAYID, Consumer Editor

BOOZE adverts are directly responsible for increased drinking among young people, a medical study has found.

It blows away the industry myth that glamorous campaigns have no bearing on teenage drinking habits.

For the first time, a probe into what influences boozing among 15 to 26-year-olds found consumption increased up to four times as a result of advertising.

It revealed that an average 20-year-old male downed three alcoholic drinks a month when not subjected to ads.

But after watching 10 booze commercials, this increased to 12 drinks, the research claimed.

The results will rock the drinks industry, which believes ads do not influence our consumption and only tempt young people to switch brands. Yesterday, Alcohol Concern used the statistics to call for a ban on booze commercials before the 9pm watershed.

And it urged the Government to take tougher action over irresponsible campaigns by the drinks industry.

Don Shenker, of the charity, said: "Alcohol Concern is aware that the level of drinking among 11 to 15-year-olds has doubled in the past 10 years.

"We urge the drinks industry not to advertise its products or sponsor programmes before the watershed. The evidence shows that young people who drink are particularly susceptible to alcohol marketing."

The US study of 4,000 15 to 26-year-olds - led by Dr Leslie Snyder, of Connecticut University - claimed the more lavished on ads, the more young people knocked back.

And it found boozing went up by three per cent for every additional 58p spent per month per person.

Dr Snyder's research revealed that age played a significant role in how teenagers were swayed and claimed: "Alcohol use increased more over time among younger teens than older ones."

According to a World Health Organisation report, British children are in the top two of a European league of shame for underage boozing.

It found 38 per cent of our 15 to 16-year-olds had been drunk by 13. Only Danish kids (42 per cent) beat that.

Alcohol Concern said: "Very little is being done by the Government... It really needs to take a strong line, as it did with smoking."

The booze industry spends pounds 800million a year on ads and promotions.

Ad watchdogs recently ordered drinks giants to use ugly men in campaigns aimed at women amid fears stars could link alcohol to sexual success.
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Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 3, 2006
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