The alcohol industry spends more than $4 billion each year marketing its products. Underage youth receive substantial exposure to this marketing, and multiple longitudinal studies have correlated this exposure with greater likelihood of drinking, or if young people have already initiated alcohol use, drinking more.

In the United States, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) in the Treasury Department and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have concurrent jurisdiction over the regulation of alcohol advertising, but the FTC has traditionally deferred to the TTB. 

The FTC has issued a series of reports (1999, 2003, 2008 and 2014) on the effectiveness of alcohol industry self-regulation of its marketing practices, and has encouraged voluntary action on the part of the alcohol industry to reduce youth exposure. In response, alcohol marketers have made some limited reforms in their voluntary codes. However, these revisions fall far short of recommendations from the National Research Council/the Institute of Medicine, state attorneys general and other scientific and advocacy organizations.

The National Prevention Strategy, released in 2011 by the National Prevention Council chaired by the U.S. Surgeon General, makes recommendations on the most effective and achievable actions to improve health and well-being. The strategy called for the federal government to conduct ongoing, independent, and brand-specific monitoring of youth exposure to alcohol marketing to ensure compliance with advertising standards.

Similarly, The World Health Organization has identified three “best buys” for reducing alcohol-related harm, one of which is restricting alcohol marketing through effective marketing regulations or comprehensive advertising bans to reduce youth exposure.

Here you will find reports, online tools, legal resources and case study examples to help stakeholders navigate options for reducing youth exposure to alcohol marketing.