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Teen-oriented magazines contain 48% more advertising for beer, 20% more advertising for hard liquor, and 92% more advertising for sweet alcoholic drinks than do magazines aimed at adults of legal drinking age.
Children and teenagers get the message that there is a pill to cure all ills and a drug for every occasion, including sexual intercourse.
Unlike traditional advertising, media depictions of legal drugs are generally positive and invite no criticism, because they are not viewed as advertising.
Although illegal drugs take their toll on American society, 2 legal drugs—alcohol and tobacco—pose perhaps the greatest danger to children and teenagers.
A longitudinal study of more than 1500 California 9th-graders revealed that increased television and music video viewing was a risk factor for the onset of alcohol use among adolescents.
The so-called war on drugs has been waged for decades, yet teenagers continue to use and abuse a variety of substances, especially tobacco and alcohol.
Although parents, schools, and the federal government are trying to get children and teenagers to “just say no” to drugs, more than $25 billion worth of cigarette, alcohol, and prescription drug advertising is effectively working to get them to “just say yes” to smoking, drinking, and other drugs.
In addition, television programs and movies contain appreciable amounts of substance use.
Drug use also represents one of many risky behaviors that occur during adolescence: teenagers who report that at least half of their friends are sexually active are 31 times more likely to drink, 5 times more likely to smoke, and 22 times more likely to try marijuana than are teenagers who do not report such a high prevalence of sexual activity among friends.
almost half of what the National Institutes of Health spends each year to study all aspects of health (gov/about/budget.htm).
In addition, exposure to PG-13– and R-rated movies at an early age may be a major factor in the onset of adolescent tobacco and alcohol use.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a ban on all tobacco advertising in all media, limitations on alcohol advertising, avoiding exposure of young children to substance-related (tobacco, alcohol, prescription drugs, illegal drugs) content on television and in PG-13– and R-rated movies, incorporating the topic of advertising and media into all substance abuse–prevention programs, and implementing media education programs in the classroom.
The causes of adolescent substance use are multifactorial, but the media can play a key role.