The alcohol industry spends nearly $4 million a year on marketing its products. Through its marketing strategy underage teens are exposed to a considerable amount of its advertising.

New research from the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health reveals alcohol ads placed in magazines are more like to be in violation of industry guidelines. Industry violation includes ads appearing to promote underage drinking, highlighting the high alcohol content or displaying alcohol alongside activities that necessitates full alertness and coordination, such as swimming.

Researchers analyzed 1,261 ads samples for alcopops, beer, spirits or wine that appeared more than 2,500 times in 11 different magazines that are likely to have at least a 15 percent youth readership. Each ad was analyzed by different risk codes such as injury content, over-consumption content, addiction content, sex-related content and violation of industry guidelines.

"The finding that violations of the alcohol industry's advertising standards were most common in magazines with the most youthful audiences tells us self-regulated voluntary codes are failing," said CAMY Director and study co-author David Jernigan, PhD. "It's time to seriously consider stronger limits on youth exposure to alcohol advertising."

Data discovered that all ads displayed alcohol near or on bodies of water, inciting over-consumption and relaying messages that support alcohol addiction. One in five ads contained sexual objectification. Alcohols advertised were concentrated by the types of alcohol, brand and outlet. Spirits, such as brandy, tequila, rum, vodka and whiskey accounted for two-thirds of ads and beer accounted for 30 percent of ads. Ten of the most advertised brands, which mainly consisted of spirits and beer, accounted for 30 percent of the ads, while seven brands were responsible for more than half of the violations of industry marketing guidelines.

"The bottom line here is that youth are getting hit repeatedly by ads for spirits and beer in magazines geared towards their age demographic," Jernigan said. "As at least 14 studies have found that the more young people are exposed to alcohol advertising and marketing, the more likely they are to drink, or if already drinking, to drink more, this report should serve as a wake-up call to parents and everyone else concerned about the health of young people."

The study was published in the Journal of Adolecent Health.