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The social problem the researchers are investigating in the article “Alcohol Advertising and youth” is that youth at age 12 to 20 years, are being targeted for exposure to alcohol advertising by alcohol companies. These advertisements cause youth to have positive beliefs about drinking alcohol and increased youth plans to drink, which succeeds in getting more youth to consume alcohol, and youth alcohol consumption represents a public health crises.
Companies advertising alcohol to youth in a society falls into 2 of the 3 major Sociological theoretical paradigms. The first paradigm is the Symbolic interaction paradigm. When youth are consistently being bombarded with positive alcoholic messages, it can cultivate their personalities to express social acceptance of alcohol. Youth (age 12 to 20 years) will incorporate drinking alcohol into their social lives and social events. Youth will create relationships with other alcohol drinkers so that they become “drinking buddies” in which drinking alcohol together becomes the link to friendship. This can create shared alcoholism.
The second Sociological theoretical paradigm is functionalism. How will it benefit the function of society if a large portion of its youth members are making alcohol suppliers wealthy because they buy in to the false concepts that alcohol is flashy and glamorous, which alcohol advertisers are portraying? This becomes problematic for society when alcohol related injuries begin rising due to fighting while intoxicated or car wreck injuries from drunk driving, as well as engaging in other unhealthy activities while intoxicated.
The research method used by the researcher of this article used secondary sources which are statistical sources and commercially available databases. Sources included the World Health Organization, the Center on Alcohol Marking and Youth (CAMY), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) among others. CAMY reported “From 2001 to 2003, alcohol companies spent nearly $5.5 billion to advertise in the measured media of television, radio, and print.” Yet “the FTC has estimated that companies spend two to three times this amount on unmeasured promotions such as sponsorships, point-of-purchase promotions, giveaways and clothing bearing alcohol brands logos and special events.” (Journal of Public Health Policy, Volume 26(3) p. 314-315)
Some of the results of the “Alcohol Advertising and youth” article are that in magazine advertising in 2003, CAMY found that young people aged 12-20 were exposed to 48% more beer ads, 20% more distilled spirits ads, and 92% more for alcoholic lemonades. Also some gender results came in that showed youth girls saw 68% more beer ads and 95% more ads for hard lemonades than women of a legal drinking age. Boys saw 29% more beer ads and 37% more hard lemonades than legal drinking age men. (Journal of Public Health Policy, Volume 26(3) p. 316).
Some of the results for television advertising between 2001 and 2003, were alcohol companies broadcasted 761,347 products ads across the US. Underage youth aged 12-20 were more likely than legal-aged adults to seen 24% of those ads. (Journal of Public Health Policy, Volume 26(3) p. 316).
I personal think these results are outrageous, and congress should pass law to restrict alcohol advertising to all ages groups, because adults who want to drink to not really need reminders anyway. But I am sure that will never happen because opponents will argue their right of free speech, even though written advertisements are not really speech. Besides that, if the alcohol industry has 5.5 billion for advertising, then they can afford to buy out or bribe congress to get what they want anyway. I would also like to note that alcohol companies claim to have advertising target audiences of age 21-34, but the statistics show that many of the advertisements end up being viewed by youth aged 12-20. I believe this is on purpose because the alcohol companies know if they can reach the younger, not yet educated person, then they will most likely have them as a customer for life. Of course the alcohol advertisers would never admit it though. I think parental education of their children is the only real solution.
In conclusion, many of American youth, age 12-20, will be exposed to alcoholic advertisements of all sorts. This will create an ongoing public health issue. This will also create ongoing Sociological theoretical paradigm issues needed to be continually studied and updated as time goes on.
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