Don’t Laugh—They Are Alcohol “Researchers”

LaughIn a study conducted by the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, researchers looked at the exposure of 18-20 year olds to alcohol ads in magazines. it was determined by these researchers that the industry-imposed rule that only magazines that attract an audience in which less than 30% of the readers are under 21 should receive alcohol ads was not breached by any advertisers.

Naturally, this good news of responsibility led to the following conclusion by Dr. Craig Ross, the lead author of the study:

“The fact that we see these high levels of exposure to magazine advertising among underage readers despite all of the magazine advertisements being in compliance with alcohol industry self-regulatory codes clearly shows current self-regulatory guidelines are not protective of youth. With alcohol the number one drug among youth, and responsible for 4,300 deaths per year, it’s time to ask ourselves what more can be done in the interest of our nation’s young people.”

“What more can be done in the interest of our nation’s young people?”

Do you ever get the impression that no matter how responsible the alcohol beverage industry is, no matter how good the news is regarding alcohol consumption by minors, and no matter the lessons that have been learned as to what DOES NOT work regarding alcohol regulation, researchers guaranteed to find problems where they don’t exist?

I get that impression. In fact, I get the impression that there is a contingent of “researchers” who have very little interest in doing research, but rather have great interest in shutting down the alcohol beverage industry. But they don’t often come out and say they are willing to throw the baby out with the bath water in pursuit of their agenda. Instead, they ask, “”What more can be done in the interest of our nation’s young people?”

As a public service, let me go ahead and just say outright what these researchers want to say, but don’t because they understand anyone hearing or reading them will recoil in response to great bursts of laughter:

1. There is no value in allowing Americans the liberty of consuming alcohol

2. If only one child is kept from drinking just once, and measures taken to achieve this are worth it.

3. We know that alcohol producers are ultimately responsible for any and all auto accidents involving alcohol

4. Prohibition didn’t fail, society failed to prohibit alcohol thoroughly enough

5. Any advertising or promotion of alcohol is dangerous and something needs to be done about it

There are certainly others, but based on the various studies that this particular group of alcohol “researchers” have released and endorsed, we can surmise that the above words are what they really want to say.


7 Responses

  1. John Kelly - July 9, 2014

    Tom – while I agree with you that our society continues to be plagued with a strain of Puritan neo-Prohibitionism, I have a different and simpler take on the motivations of these “researchers”:

    1) Whatever their intellectual motivations for pursuing a line of inquiry, “researchers” are practically only interested in one thing: funding.

    • Erika Szymanski - July 9, 2014

      John, why “researchers” in quotes?

  2. Erika Szymanski - July 9, 2014

    I can’t say that John is entirely spot-on — most researchers I know came into their current research agenda in part (allow me to emphasize the “in part” part) because of some sort of personal interest or attachment to the topic. Nevertheless, the crux of what John is saying has a lot of merit.

    I read a lot of articles written by researchers clearly taking the position that alcohol is a dangerous drug to which the public should have limited access and which they should be discouraged from consuming. Just remember, though, that there are whole departments of researchers working on ways to make better-quality wine, to market wine more effectively, and to understand the (central, pivotal, irreplaceable) role of wine in history and culture. I know. I’m one of them.

    • Thomas Pellechia - July 10, 2014

      The problem, Erika, is that their research “results” gets in front of the policy-makers; yours does not.

      • Erika Szymanski - July 10, 2014

        1. That’s the difference between medicine and humanities (often; granted, not always)
        2. Working on that (my research is at least making it to state and regional wine organizations)
        3. It won’t matter; politicians cite research that suits them and ignore what doesn’t.

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