Description of Strategy
Restrictions on alcohol and tobacco advertising include any policies that limit advertising of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products, particularly advertising that exposes young people to pro-alcohol and tobacco messages. Restrictions can be in the form of a local ordinance or state law, or can be implemented voluntarily by a business, event, or organization. The following can be included as restrictions:
- banning ads on buses, trains, kiosks, billboards, supermarket carts, bus shelters, schools, and theme parks;
- banning or limiting advertising and sponsorship at community events, such as festivals, parties, rodeos, concerts, and sporting events;
- banning advertising in areas surrounding schools, residential areas, faith organizations, etc.;
- restricting or banning TV and/or radio commercials advertising alcohol and tobacco;
- restricting alcohol and tobacco advertising in newspapers and/or on the Internet;
- countering alcohol and tobacco ads with public service announcements;
- restricting the size and placement of window advertisements in liquor and convenience stores;
- requiring all alcohol ads in the local media to include warnings about the health risks of alcohol and tobacco consumption;
- setting a maximum for the percentage of total print advertising space that alcohol and tobacco ads can cover;
- reducing the disproportionately high number of alcohol and tobacco billboards in low-income neighborhoods;
- prohibiting images and statements that portray or encourage intoxication; and,
- enforcing existing restrictions on alcohol and tobacco advertising (University of Minnesota Alcohol Epidemiology Program, 2009).
Also known as...
Discussion of Effectiveness
A Cochrane systematic review (Siegfried et. al. 2014) found insufficient evidence for or against recommending alcohol advertising restriction. Two studies found that restricting the content and placement of alcohol advertising may reduce underage and excessive drinking, and two studies found that exposure to alcohol advertising increased drinking among non-drinking adolescents and adolescents who already consume alcohol (University of Wisconsin County Health Rankings, 2014).
Depending on the approach used, there is some evidence that advertising restrictions lower tobacco consumption. In 18 of 19 observational studies, a Cochrane systematic review found nonsmoking adolescents who were more aware of tobacco advertising or who were receptive to it were more likely to have experimented with cigarettes or to become smokers later.
Other studies found a strong association between exposure to tobacco advertising and tobacco consumption. However, the evidence that reducing exposure leads to a reduction in consumption is still mixed. More study is needed, specifically to determine what aspects of successful campaigns are the most effective (University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, 2017).