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Alcohol is the most popular drug among our nation’s youth. The consequences of youth alcohol use are real and tragic. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, young people who begin drinking prior to the age of 15 are five times more likely to develop alcohol problems later in life than those who wait until they are 21 to drink. Every year approximately 4,300 people under age 21 die from injuries resulting from excessive alcohol use.

More than 20 peer-reviewed longitudinal studies have followed groups of young people over time, measuring their exposure to alcohol marketing of various kinds and their drinking behavior, and found that the more youth are exposed to alcohol marketing, the more likely they are to drink or, if already drinking, to drink more. The World Health Organization has identified restrictions on alcohol marketing as one of the most effective and cost-effective ways to reduce alcohol problems.

In 2011, the U.S. Surgeon General issued the first National Prevention Strategy, explicitly recognizing the importance and need for ongoing, independent and brand-specific monitoring of youth exposure to alcohol marketing in order to ensure compliance with advertising standards and subsequent protection of youth from these marketing influences. Since that time, our research has found that young people in the U.S. continue to be exposed to alarming levels of alcohol advertising and marketing, and our recent studies suggest this exposure is impacting not only their decision to drink, but what brands and how much they drink.

Marketing encompasses new product development, pricing and the commercial and social availability of alcohol, as well as its promotion. The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth plays a leadership role nationally and internationally in researching and implementing evidence-based strategies across all these areas.

We are grateful to our existing funders, and welcome donations to support our work.