AMA calls for alcohol ad ban

AMA calls for alcohol ad ban

By Joe Baker, Senior Editor

By Joe Baker

Senior Editor

The American Medical Association has called on the television networks to ban advertisements for alcoholic beverages before 10 p.m.

Members of the AMA’s house of delegates issued the appeal while meeting in New Orleans.

The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, through a spokesman, claimed such a move was unjustified. The council said friends and family have more influence on a young person’s decision whether to drink than ads do.

The Federal Trade Commission, however, said it “does not rule out the existence of a clinically important effect of advertising on youth drinking decisions.”

One 25-year-old former alcoholic said: “Though the commercials obviously weren’t solely responsible for my drinking at an early age, the way the parties and women were portrayed made me want to have the same thing happen to me. I wanted to have a good time, but it just made my life horrible chasing that party scene depicted in the ads.”

The AMA released studies showing significant damage is caused to an underdeveloped person—such as a teen-ager—saying early drinking “causes long-term and possibly irreversible damage.” The report also stated the average age when youngsters try alcohol for the first time is 12.

Researchers report young people view 20,000 commercials a year, and nearly 2,000 are for beer and wine. For each anti-alcohol public service announcement they see, there are 25-50 other ads that promote drinking alcohol.

College drinkers, many of them underage, are the source of some serious problems. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that youthful drinking produces: 1,400 deaths annually; 500,000 injuries; 600,000 assaults; and 70,000 sexual assaults.

The Institute said more than 2 million young people operated a car in 2001 while under the influence of alcohol.

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