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Television Advertising and Hard Liquor - A Dangerous Cocktail For Our Children

For more information, please call:
Julia Sherman, Communications Director,
Office of Alcohol and other Drug Abuse; (312)464-5514

AMA Launches LiquorFreeTV.com Campaign

Chicago-The American Medical Association Office of Alcohol and other Drug Abuse has created www.LiquorFreeTV.com, a web resource dedicated to shedding light on the troubling decision by NBC to accept liquor advertising.

"We see the impact of the alcohol advertising permeating popular culture in one statistic; the average age of first drink in America is age 12. Having dropped nearly four years in one generation, this trend indicates that large numbers of children aged 8, 9 and 10 years old regularly experiment with alcohol," said Richard Yoast Ph.D., Director of the American Medical Association Office of Alcohol and other Drug Abuse.

"LiquorFreeTV.com provides clear concise, science-based information on underage drinking, liquor advertising on television and what it means to our children. We can never lose sight of the fact that only adults profit from the manufacture, distribution and sale of alcohol, children don't," Yoast added.

NBC's decision to air hard liquor advertising again raised questions about the role of alcohol advertising and the effect of other industry activities on children. The American Medical Association immediately denounced NBC's decision as "shockingly irresponsible." Groups ranging from the Christian Focus on the Family to the Center for Science in the Public Interest have raised serious questions about appropriateness of liquor advertising on television.

At www.LiquorFreeTV.com, individuals can find facts about the current epidemic of childhood drinking in America and the history of alcohol advertising. For example:

Increased television viewing by just one hour per day was associated with a 9% increased risk of underage alcohol consumption.

One fifth of ninth graders reported binge drinking in the past month.

The site includes the complete results of recent nationwide polling by respected pollster Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates showing public opposition to additional alcohol advertising on television.

When a scientific sample of 500 households was polled in December, public opinion was clear:

Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed opposed NBC's decision to accept alcohol advertising.

Seventy percent of the respondents indicated they believe that liquor advertising on TV would influence those under 21 to consume liquor.

In addition, the text of the keynote speech delivered by, J. Edward Hill, M.D. chairman-elect of the AMA Board of Trustees to the Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free elaborating on NBC's action is posted. A hot link on the site allows visitors to share the address of this site with others.