Vulnerable young choose high profile brands

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Heavily advertised brands and cheap, strong alcohol are the drinks most consumed by vulnerable young people involved with treatment services, according to an Alcohol Concern survey. 

According to the study – which surveyed more than 380 11 to 17-year-olds across 14 treatment services in England and Wales – Foster’s lager was the most commonly consumed drink, followed by generic or own-brand vodka, Smirnoff vodka, Frosty Jack’s cider and Glen’s vodka. 

The frequency of spirit consumption has almost doubled among 11 to 15-year-olds since 1990, and has risen by 95 per cent among girls. Vodka was most widely consumed by the girls who took part in the survey, while strong cider was popular with both sexes and beer tended to be drunk by boys. The results echo the findings of a report from the Boston University School of Public Health and Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (DDN, March, page 4), which found youth alcohol consumption in the US to be far more dominated by a ‘relatively small number of brands’ than consumption among adults. 

Research by Alcohol Concern also found that the ‘Dan and Brad’ characters from Fosters TV advertising were more familiar to 10 and 11-year-olds than characters from leading confectionary and crisp brand adverts. ‘Alcohol advertising is linked to consumption, particularly in those under 18 years old, and it’s time we introduced robust measures which protect this group from exposure to it,’ said Alcohol Concern policy programme manager, Tom Smith.