Critchlow N (2020) Alcohol marketing in the UK: Lessons from the Youth Alcohol Policy Survey. 6th Global Alcohol Policy Conference, Dublin, 09.03.2020-11.03.2020. https://www.gapc2020.org/
Objectives: Young people are a focal population for alcohol marketing policy. In the United Kingdom (UK), however, debates are underpinned by lack of concurrent evidence around adolescents’ exposure to alcohol marketing, what association marketing has with alcohol use, and awareness of health messages on packaging. We sought answers through the inaugural Youth Alcohol Policy Survey.
Methods: An online cross-sectional survey with 11-19 year olds in the UK (n=3,399) in 2017. Participants reported past-month awareness of alcohol marketing, participation with marketing on social media, and awareness of product information and health messaging on packaging. We also asked about ownership of branded merchandise, alcohol use among current drinkers (AUDIT-C), and susceptibility among never-drinkers.
Results: Eighty-two per cent of participants had seen at least one instance of alcohol in the past month, and at least half had seen 32 or more instances. Over one-in-ten (13%) had participated with at least one form of alcohol marketing on social media in the past month and almost a fifth (17%) owned branded merchandise. There were associations between awareness of, and participation with, alcohol marketing and both alcohol use among current drinkers and susceptibility among never drinkers. Only a third (32%) of participants had seen any product information, health messages or health warnings on alcohol packaging, including less than half (46%) of current drinkers.
Conclusion: The Youth Alcohol Policy Survey highlights clear opportunities for alcohol marketing policy development. The findings will be discussed in light of current developments and challenges to implementing such change in the UK.