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Thursday, September 4, 2014

How to Drink Responsibly

Is it possible to drink responsibly? Sure, most people can have a few drinks, take a cab home, and wake up the next day feeling a little sluggish, but that's the worst of it. However, when you consider that alcohol is essentially a poison to the human body, with the only redeeming quality of being a good antiseptic, it’s hard to see anything responsible about consuming alcohol.

Every day, millions of Americans are exposed to advertisements from alcohol companies who tend to end their pitch with, “Remember, drink responsibly.” However, while alcohol companies are good to remind everyone to drink responsibly; they never mention how to exactly accomplish the act, according to researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

All alcohol ads appearing in U.S. magazines from 2008 to 2010 were analyzed by researchers. Out of the 87 percent of ads that were good enough to include a drink responsibly message, not one explained what drinking responsibly was, Medical Xpress reports.

In the cases where responsible drinking messages were present, 88 percent reinforced promotion of the advertised product. Often times the message of the advertisement contradicted scenes shown in the ads.

What is shocking about alcohol ads is the fact that responsible drinking messages are not required under federal law, unlike cigarette advertisements that are required to remind the smoker that these little pleasure sticks are, in fact, trying to kill you. What’s more, nowhere in the alcohol industry’s voluntary guidelines for marketing and promotion does it state what is considered responsible drinking, according to the article.

“We know from experience with tobacco that warning messages on product containers and in advertising can affect consumption of potentially dangerous products,” said study leader Katherine Clegg Smith, PhD in a news release. “We should apply that knowledge to alcohol ads and provide real warnings about the negative effects of excessive alcohol use.”

The findings appear in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

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