Why alcohol ads should be banned

Kennedy Ryan – Anchor Contributor

Nearly 50 years ago, President Nixon banned cigarette advertisements. This law, the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act, prohibited cigarette campaigns from airing on television and radio stations. Why are we still being exposed to other unhealthy advertisement messages today?

It is believed that we are exposed to roughly 5,000 advertisement messages a day. Of those, there are many advertisements that I believe should be potentially banned, similar to those messages shared in cigarette ads. For example, alcohol advertisement is still legal in the United States, as well as other countries.

Graphic courtesy of Miller Brewing Company

While smoking cigarettes has an endless list of negative health complications, alcohol consumption arguably has its own lengthy list. For example, alcohol consumption can cause liver inflammation, a higher risk of cancer, impaired brain function, increased chance of depression, unsafe driving conditions and more. If alcohol has so many health complications, why are we allowed to see persuasive messages every day in the advertisement world?

Advertisements are infamous for persuading audiences. Television commercials, colorful billboards and flashy magazine advertisements can all sway an audience into purchasing a product. Alcohol commercials ranging from colorful cartoons to entertaining videos can easily influence the wrong audience. This can be a concern for young children and other vulnerable audiences that may be viewing an ad. These consumers can be easily swayed to believe that alcohol consumption is not only healthy, but cool and fun.

While alcohol consumption may not necessarily be harmful in moderation, what sets it apart from other substances that can be abused? In countries such as France, Norway, Russia, and Kenya, alcohol advertisements have been banned on television and billboards. For audiences in the U.S., it may be beneficial to ban these messages as well.