Teen Targeting Alcohol Advertisements Alcoholism is a major drug problem in America. Estimates show that the average teenager sees about 1,000 beer, wine, and alcohol ads each year (Alcohol Advertising 1). .?It is undeniable alcohol advertising glamorizes alcohol use and that young people are particularly susceptible to this glamorization? (Kilbourne 204). Long term alcohol abuse causes many mental and physical health complications. James C. Miller III, Chairman for the Federal Trade Commission, states, ?It contributes to a large percentage of all traffic fatalities, industrial accidents, drownings, burnings, injurious falls, and incidents of violent crime?(Alcohol Advertising7). Due to the devastating consequences of teen alcohol abuse, the U.S. government must censor alcohol advertisements.
Despite the increasing number of underage addictions, each year, millions of dollars are spent on alcohol advertisements and promotions. Children view as many as 100,000 television commercials for alcohol before they are twenty-one years old (Health Warnings 36).
Over time , this can desensitize young adults into thinking that alcohol consumption is acceptable. Teenagers are swayed by the attractive promotions regarding alcohol. Janet Steiger, chairman for the Federal Trade Commission, proclaims, ?It suggests that using the advertised product is pleasurable and desirable, and many image ads appear to link the use of the product with robust health and physical fitness, or social success and physical attraction? (Health Warnings 36). Children look up to celebrities as role models. Famous people must set a good example for the younger generation. Promoting alcoholic beverages influences teenagers in a negative way. Jean Kilbourne speaking on behalf of the National council of Alcoholism and drug Dependence states, ?Young people are particularly influenced by the widespread use of celebrities, such as rock stars, television personalities, and athletes in television ads.? (Kilbourne 204). Advertisers try to convince the consumers that their alcohol product will make them sexy, rich, and athletic; while leaving out the negative aspects of alcohol abuse.
Alcohol is a poison and causes much more than what the advertisements show.
Alcoholism leads to numerous physical problems. People who abuse alcohol destroy their lives as well as lives of others. ?One of the top ten causes of death in the United States is cirrhosis of the liver, a condition developed by an estimated 10 % of alcoholic patients? (Vibe 25). Alcoholism contributes to thousands of deaths each year. ?Alcohol can also enhance malnutrition by a direct effect on the stomach, pancreas, and intestines causing inflammation which in turn impairs digestion and absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream? (Vibe 24-25). Heavy drinking can also damage the heart. Almost half of all cases of cardiomyopathy are caused by alcohol abuse(?Alcoholism?1). Women who drink large amounts of alcohol while pregnant place their baby at risk for being born with fetal alcohol syndrome. Joseph Zanga, speaking on behalf of the American Academy of Pediatricians, states, ?Fetal alcohol syndrome and fetal alcohol effects affects thousands of infants every year in this Nation? (Zanga 287). This is completely preventable. Children are not given the chance to live a normal life because of the irresponsible and selfish decisions that their mothers made before these babies were born. Fetal alcohol syndrome babies have facial and head deformities, mental retardation, heart defects, hyperactivity, and central nervous system impairments.
From an early age television domesticates people to believe that young people have fun when they drink. This is a very dangerous concept. The consumption of alcohol may alter one?s ability to make informed decisions. An individual who decides to drink may harm themselves as well as other people. Intoxication threatens not only the one intoxicated but also the surrounding community. ?Alcohol may alter perceptions, cognitive performance, moods/emotions, and response capabilities and preferences? (Collins 115). Emotions are exaggerated when a person is intoxicated. People become more aggressive and begin displaying violent behavior. ?Juveniles who are delinquent, or who engage in deviant behavior, appear to drink more than juveniles not officially classified as delinquent? (Collins 160). Rosemary Carmichael, a student at the Rutgers Summer School of Alcohol Studies, states, ?Recent teenage drinking in small towns and large cities throughout the nation is being pinpointed as the basis for the most juvenile violence, vandalism, and disrespect for authority? (Carmichael 149). Alcohol gives teenagers a false sense of courage and sometimes causes them to do things they would not normally do.
Advertisement of alcohol on the radio, television, and print must be censored due to the negative influences geared towards the younger population. Advertising makes alcohol seem attractive, but fails to reveal the true effects. People start to think that it is okay to drink excessively and that it is socially acceptable. Martha Baker, President of the National Council on Alcoholism, proclaims, ?The National Council on Alcoholism joined a petition to the Federal Trade Commission requesting a comprehensive prove of the alcohol beverage industry?s advertising and marketing practices and recommending restriction on the advertising directed toward youth and heavy drinkers? (Baker 281). Advertisement industries need to have regulations on what is acceptable and what is not acceptable to advertise. ?We are particularly concerned about the impact of such advertising on the vulnerable populations including young people generally?children of alcoholics, specifically, and heavy drinkers? (Baker 281). The best solution to keep teenagers from being influenced is to ban the use of alcohol in the commercials. Also, commercials trying to spread the awareness of the negative effects of alcohol on a human body should be aired on public television. Martha Baker also states, ?Public service announcements and entertainment programming which depict adverse consequences associated with drinking are rare and frequently relegated to viewing hours when most Americans are asleep? (Baker 282). For example, TRUTH commercials are now being shown on television and making people aware of the harmful effects that cigarettes cause to the smoker as well as everyone around them. These are aired with hope people realize the dangers and eventually quit smoking all together. Advertisements for alcoholic beverages should follow the same path.
Heavy penalties should be set in place for violators of the censorship. The penalties will have to be equally severe for both the networks and companies that run the ads as they are for the companies of the alcoholic beverages. If the penalties are not distributed through every person connected, the companies will try to bypass censorship. Penalties should consist of astronomical fines and or jail time for the person who had the last say in running the ad. Think of how much money these huge corporations have; reasonable fines mean nothing to them! Every company involved will openly and violently oppose any of these proposals. All that they care about is money, money, and money. Any censorship will destroy their mind-controlling propaganda that has made them billions of dollars and changed societies? view on alcohol forever. In the 1920?s alcohol was illegal. After legalization many people still recognized the terrible effects of alcohol. In later generations, as children started growing up around televisions, alcohol can be found in almost every home around the world. Companies may say that people have free will, but people are domesticated by their surrounding when they are young. Alcoholic ads, featuring lustrous fun and excitement, definitely imprints a child?s mind for life.
Alcohol advertisements are made to sway teenagers and adults into buying their product. These ads influence teens into believing that becoming intoxicated is socially acceptable. People who begin drinking at young ages are more likely to become alcoholics. Alcoholism can lead to many physical complications including cirrhosis of the liver and damaging the heart. Also an unborn child?s life can be destroyed. A person who consumes alcohol is not able to make informed decisions and may cause injury to himself or others. Juvenile violence and vandalism are often done while a teenager is intoxicated. Alcohol advertising must be censored to reduce the negative influence that is put on today?s youth.