Effective regulation of alcohol brand placements in movies could limit underage drinking

Researchers at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center have found that current constraints on advertising for alcohol products in movies that adolescents watch are not effective. The study, "Trends in Tobacco and Alcohol Brand Placements in Popular US movies, 1996 through 2009,"was published online in the May 27, 2013 JAMA Pediatrics.

Studies have shown that influence smoking and drinking during adolescence: A 2012 Surgeon General's report noted a between the initiation of smoking in adolescents and depictions of smoking in movies, and there are studies showing that children's exposure to movie imagery of tobacco and alcohol is also associated with early onset of drinking and . A 1998 agreement, enforced by the State Attorneys General, resulted in dramatic declines in cigarette brand placements after 1999, and coincided with declines in youth tobacco use. However, paid brand placement in movies is still a common marketing practice for the and their rules don't adequately restrict placements to movies intended for adults.

"In order to be effective, constraints on advertising for products that harm adolescents should be externally developed and enforced," says Dr. James Sargent, co-director of the Cancer Control Research Program at Norris Cotton Cancer Center and professor of Pediatrics at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. "Historically, industry self-regulation in this area does not work."

This study examines recent trends for tobacco and alcohol use in movies before and after the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), which ended payments for tobacco brand placements in films. After the MSA was implemented tobacco brand placements in movies declined by 7 percent per year while alcohol brand placement, subject only to industry self-regulation, was found increasingly in movies rated for ages as young as 13.

The authors suggest that since evidence now supports the of smoking and drinking in films, the rating system should change. Movies that depict drinking in contexts that could increase curiosity or acceptability of unsafe drinking should be rated R. For example, no movie with a youth rating should show alcohol brands, underage drinking, binge drinking, alcohol abuse, or drinking and driving.

More information: JAMA Pediatr. Published online May 27, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.393

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Obese teens in study less likely to use contraception

date Jul 01, 2015

A study of nearly 1,000 teens found that sexually active obese adolescents were significantly less likely to use contraception than normal weight peers, putting them at higher risk of unintended pregnancy.

Extracurricular sports produce disciplined preteens

date Jul 01, 2015

Regular, structured extracurricular sports seem to help kids develop the discipline they need in order to engage effectively in the classroom, according to a new study led by Linda Pagani of the University ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.