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Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth

Alcohol Advertising and Promotion

Excerpts from The Surgeon General's Call to Action To Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking

All text in this fact sheet is excerpted directly from The Surgeon General's Call to Action To Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking, a 2007 report from the Office of the Surgeon General (emphases added).

The alcohol industry has a public responsibility relating to the marketing of its product, since its use is illegal for more than 80 million underage Americans. That responsibility can be fulfilled through products and advertising design and placement that meet these criteria (Surgeon General's Call to Action, page 43):

Because of their reach and potential impact, the entertainment and media industries have a responsibility to the public in the way they choose to depict alcohol use, especially by those under the age of 21, in motion pictures, television programming, music, and video games. That responsibility can be fulfilled by creating and distributing entertainment that (Call to Action, page 44):

Given the prevalence of underage drinking on college campuses, institutions of higher education should examine their policies and practices on alcohol use by their students and the extent to which they may directly or indirectly encourage, support, or facilitate underage alcohol use. Colleges and universities can change a campus culture that contributes to underage alcohol use. Some measures to consider are to (Call to Action, page 40-41):

A number of strategies can contribute to a culture that discourages adults from providing alcohol to minors and that supports an adolescent's decision not to drink. Communities can (Call to Action, page 42):

State, Tribal, and local public health agencies; policymakers; and the general public need complete and timely information on patterns and trends in youth alcohol consumption in order to develop and evaluate prevention strategies (Call to Action, page 68).


  1. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission currently is conducting a study of alcohol advertising and marketing, including the effectiveness of industry efforts to prevent undue exposure of youth to messages about alcohol.
  2. M. E. Dunn, M.E. and R. M. Yniguez, "Experimental demonstration of the influence of alcohol advertising on the activation of alcohol expectancies in memory among fourth-and fifth-grade children," Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology 7 (1999):473-483; A. D. Kulick and H. Rosenberg, "Influence of positive and negative film portrayals of drinking on older adolescents' alcohol outcome expectancies," Journal of Applied Social Psychology 31 (2001):1492; J. D. Sargent, T. A. Wills, M. Stoolmiller, et al, "Alcohol use in motion pictures and its relation with early-onset teen drinking," Journal of Studies on Alcohol 67 (2006):54-65.