Press Release

Alcohol Industry's Marketing Overexposes Hispanic Teens

  • October 26, 2005

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Hispanic youth ages 12 to 20 often saw and heard more alcohol advertising per capita during 2003 and 2004 than young people in their age group in general, according to a new report released today from the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) at Georgetown University.

The report finds that Hispanic 12- to 20-year-olds in the United States saw 20 percent more alcohol advertising per capita in English-language magazines in 2004 than did all young people in this age group.  

CAMY's report, which covers both 2003 and 2004, also looked at alcohol advertising on English- and Spanish-language radio stations and on the English- and Spanish-language television programming most popular among Hispanic youth during those years.  CAMY is funded by grants from The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to Georgetown University.  

“Previous research has shown that Hispanic youth are more likely to drink and drink heavily at an earlier age than their peers,” said David Jernigan, CAMY research director.  “Plenty of industries have set their sights on the Hispanic market, but this much alcohol marketing reaching Hispanic young people could have serious consequences.”

According to federal surveys, Hispanic young people are more likely to drink and get drunk at an earlier age than non-Hispanic white young people.  They are also substantially more likely to report binge drinking in the past two weeks in eighth grade than both white and black youth, and are slightly more likely to do so in the 10th grade as well.  Recent public health research has added to the evidence that exposure to alcohol marketing plays a role in young people's decisions to drink.  

Previous CAMY reports have shown that, in general, underage youth are often more likely per capita to see and hear alcohol advertising than adults age 21 and over.  CAMY's new study compares Hispanic youth alcohol ad exposure to the exposure of all underage youth ages 12 to 20.

Key findings from this new report:

  • Alcohol ads in English-language magazines were more likely to be seen by Hispanic youth than by youth in general.  Compared to members of their age group in general, Hispanic young people ages 12 to 20 saw 7 percent more alcohol advertising per capita in English-language magazines during 2003, and 20 percent more in 2004.     
  • Hispanic youth in cities such as New York, San Francisco, San Antonio and San Jose were more likely to hear alcohol ads on the radio than youth in those cities in general.  In six of the top 20 markets by Hispanic population in 2003, and in seven of the top 20 markets in 2004, Hispanic youth ages 12 to 20 heard more radio alcohol ads per capita than all youth in those markets.  In the other markets included in this top 20, Hispanic youth heard nearly as much radio alcohol advertising per capita as all youth.   
  • Fourteen of the 15 most popular TV programs among 12-to-20-year-old Hispanic youth had alcohol ads in 2003 and 2004.  While 12 of the top 15 programs among Hispanic youth ran alcohol advertising in 2002, this number grew to 14 in 2003 and 2004.  Programs such as Bernie Mac, Fear Factor, Don Francisco Presenta, Cristina and The Simpsons had alcohol ads during at least one of those two years.     
  • Some alcohol brands exposed Hispanic youth to their ads more than others.  In the 20 top media markets by Hispanic population, three brands exposed Hispanic youth to significantly more radio advertising per capita than youth in general during 2004.  Hispanic youth heard 272 percent more radio advertising per capita for Beck's Beer that year than did 12- to 20-year-olds in general, as well as 194 percent more for Coors Beer and 78 percent more for Budweiser.

Dr. Guillermo Brito, executive director of the National Latino Council on Alcohol and Tobacco Prevention (LCAT), said, “The industry knows that Latinos are a young, fast-growing and lucrative market.  Industry must also be aware that there is disparate impact of alcohol ads, as Latino youth are likelier to binge drink and have more problems than black or white youth, and have less access to prevention and treatment.”

Katherine Culliton, Esq., LCAT policy director, said, “The FTC and FCC should monitor this, and the industry should adopt better standards if they really care about the well-being of the Latino community.”   

Click here for a CAMY fact sheet on the report's findings.

Click here for a Spanish copy of the report's executive summary.

Click here for a copy of the press release in Spanish.

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About the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth

The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at Georgetown University monitors the marketing practices of the alcohol industry to focus attention and action on industry practices that jeopardize the health and safety of America's youth.  The Center is supported by grants from The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  More information on the Center and a full text of this report can be found at www.camy.org.

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