In an article by Celia Vimont on Drugfree.org, Vimont highlights a study that found underage drinkers prefer top alcohol brands. This is the first study to specifically identify brands of alcohol in relation to underage drinking. The top 25 brands were on the list and accounted for nearly half of youth alcohol consumption, says the study. Almost 28 percent of these underage drinkers drank Bud Light in the past month. Seventeen percent reportedly drank Smirnoff malt beverages, while 15 percent drank Budweiser.
Adults do drink a larger repertoire of brands than underage drinkers, however, notes the study’s co-author David Jernigan, PhD, Director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The study also discovered other brands popular among underage drinkers include Smirnoff Vodkas, Coors Light, Jack Daniel’s Bourbons, Corona Extra, Mike’s, Captain Morgan Rums and Absolut Vodkas.
Dr. Jernigan says they “monitor what brands of cigarettes kids are smoking, which was how we knew about the popularity of Joe Camel, but until now, no one has been monitoring what brands of alcohol they are drinking. We’ve shown that this kind of study can be done, and now it should be done on a regular basis.”
He went on to say how this report “paves the way for future studies to examine the link between exposure to alcohol advertising and marketing efforts, and drinking in young people,” states the article.
Half of teens, by the age of 15, have had at least one drink. By age 18, more than 70 percent have had a drink, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Numerous studies have shown how marketing and advertising play a huge role in the likeliness of young drinkers. The more they are exposed to ads relating to alcohol, the more likely they are to start drinking at a young age.
This study comprised of 1,032 youth ages 13 to 20 and was completed online. It was conducted by researchers at CAMY and the Boston University School of Public Health. Participants were asked about their past 30-day consumption of 898 brands of alcohol among 16 alcoholic beverage types. Questions on how often and how much of each brand they consumed were asked. The study appears in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
“This research will lead to insights that will inform public policy,” Dr. Jernigan says. “Everybody has gut sense that some brands are appealing to kids more than others. Now we know for which brands that is working.”