FOUR out of 10 teenagers own alcohol branded merchandise and half of their favourite television ads are about alcohol, new research shows.
Alcohol Action Ireland (AAI) said the findings illustrate how deeply alcohol marketing infiltrates the lives of children.
A survey commissioned by the charity reveals that two out of three Irish adults back a minimum price for alcohol, with almost half saying they would buy less if the price was increased by just 10%.
The results are contained in a survey of 16 to 65-year-olds, which will be published today at a major conference on alcohol organised by AAI.
The research found:
* 39% of 16-17-year-olds owned alcohol-branded merchandise, such as clothing.
* 26% had a sports jersey with an alcohol brand on it.
* Five of their top 10 television advertisements were alcohol-related.
* 30% had viewed an alcohol advertisement on online social networking site Facebook.
“Five out of the top 10 favourite ads in this age group are alcohol ads suggesting a high recall among young people for alcohol ads,” said Fiona Ryan, director of AAI.
“It suggests they are aware of some alcohol marketing but it would appear not others. The reality is young people are being marketed to without even knowing it, for example, through sponsorship or alcohol-branded merchandise.”
She added: “No one is saying that putting on a sports jersey with an alcohol logo by itself will make a young person drink,” said Ms Ryan. “But what alcohol marketing does do is contribute to the normalisation of alcohol in a young person’s life making its use more acceptable.”
Ms Ryan said 65% of adults surveyed supported a minimum price for alcohol, with 25% admitting that lower alcohol prices in supermarkets had influenced them to buy more.
She said the alcohol market in Ireland is worth €6 billion per year, with €2bn going to the Exchequer.
She said recent official figures estimate that the total cost of alcohol-related harm is €3.7bn: €1bn in health costs and €1bn in public order and crime costs.
Meanwhile, the Irish Bishops’ Drugs and Alcohol Initiative has urged the 56,000-plus Junior Certificate students who collect their results today not to drink or take drugs to mark the occasion.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved