Monthly Archives: February 2014

Exposure of Children and Adolescents to Alcohol Marketing on Social Media Websites

  1. Eleanor M. Winpenny1,*,
  2. Theresa M. Marteau2 and
  3. Ellen Nolte1
  1. 1RAND Europe, Westbrook Centre, Milton Road, Cambridge CB4 1YG, UK
  2. 2Behaviour and Health Research Unit, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Cambridge, Forvie Site, Robinson Way, Cambridge CB2 0SR, UK
  1. *Corresponding author: RAND Europe, Westbrook Centre, Milton Road, Cambridge CB4 1YG, UK. Tel.: +44-1223-222742; Fax: +44-1223-358-845; E-mail: winpenny{at}
  • Received July 12, 2013.
  • Revision requested September 21, 2013.
  • Revision received October 21, 2013.
  • Accepted October 24, 2013.

Aims: In 2011, online marketing became the largest marketing channel in the UK, overtaking television for the first time. This study aimed to describe the exposure of children and young adults to alcohol marketing on social media websites in the UK. Methods: We used commercially available data on the three most used social media websites among young people in the UK, from December 2010 to May 2011. We analysed by age (6–14 years; 15–24 years) and gender the reach (proportion of internet users who used the site in each month) and impressions (number of individual pages viewed on the site in each month) for Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. We further analysed case studies of five alcohol brands to assess the marketer-generated brand content available on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter in February and March 2012. Results: Facebook was the social media site with the highest reach, with an average monthly reach of 89% of males and 91% of females aged 15–24. YouTube had a similar average monthly reach while Twitter had a considerably lower usage in the age groups studied. All five of the alcohol brands studied maintained a Facebook page, Twitter page and YouTube channel, with varying levels of user engagement. Facebook pages could not be accessed by an under-18 user, but in most cases YouTube content and Twitter content could be accessed by those of all ages. Conclusion: The rise in online marketing of alcohol and the high use of social media websites by young people suggests that this is an area requiring further monitoring and regulation.

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Adolescents’ Use of Alcohol, Tobacco and Illicit Drugs in Relation to Prenatal Alcohol Exposure: Modifications by Gender and Ethnicity

  1. Manuela Pfinder1,2,*,
  2. Stefan Liebig3 and
  3. Reinhold Feldmann2
  1. 1Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology, Faculty of Sociology, University of Bielefeld, PO Box 10 01 31, 33501 Bielefeld, Germany
  2. 2Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital Munster, Albert-Schweitzer-Campus 1, 48129 Munster, Germany
  3. 3Sonderforschungsbereich (SFB 882) “From Heterogeneities to Inequalities”, Faculty of Sociology, University of Bielefeld, PO Box 10 01 31, 33501 Bielefeld, Germany
  1. *Corresponding author: Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology, University of Bielefeld, PO Box 10 01 31, 33501 Bielefeld, Germany. Tel.:+-49-176-61551512; E-mail: manuela.pfinder{at}
  • Received March 25, 2013.
  • Revision requested June 27, 2013.
  • Revision received October 7, 2013.
  • Accepted October 11, 2013.

Aims: The study aimed to investigate (a) the association between low to moderate prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) and the use of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs in adolescence and (b) whether the associations are modified by gender and ethnicity. Methods: The subjects of the study were 5922 children and adolescents, aged from 11 to 17 years, enrolled in the cross-sectional German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents (the KiGGS study). Information on PAE is based on parental self-report questionnaires. Use of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs was assessed through self-report questionnaires for adolescents. Results: Low to moderate PAE was associated with an increased risk of drinking alcohol (adjusted odds ratio (OR) 1.73, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.34, 2.18) and also of illicit drug use (adjusted OR 1.62, 95% CI 1.23, 2.14). The associations between PAE and the use of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs differed according to gender and ethnicity. Gender-stratified analyses resulted in adverse effects of PAE on drinking alcohol, smoking and illicit drug use in females; however, in German males, the associations disappeared. Stronger associations between PAE and the outcome measures were found in non-Germans. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that low to moderate levels of maternal alcohol intake during pregnancy are a risk factor for use of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs by the offspring, with stronger associations in females and non-Germans.

Genetic and Environmental Interplay in Risky Drinking in Adolescents: A Literature Review

Aims: The aim of the study was to review recent research on the interplay between genes, environment and epigenetic factors in risky drinking in adolescents and the impact of neurobiological determinants on early alcohol-related cognitive deficits in young people. Methods: Narrative review. Results: There is consensus that the brain and the behaviour are shaped during development by the combined effects of genes, childhood experiences, environment and hormonal variations. Epigenetic factors seem to play a role in linking the expression of genes with stress and external experiences during brain maturation and development. Evidence on the interaction between genes and environmental factors illustrates that, in adolescence, external factors play a more important role than genetic factors on the risk of developing alcohol problems later on in life. Conclusions: Adolescence is a crucial stage of brain development; intervening early and applying certain prevention programmes may halt the progression of alcohol misuse.

Contribution of Time of Drinking Onset and Family History of Alcohol Problems in Alcohol and Drug Use Behaviors in Argentinean College Students

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  1. Angelina Pilatti1,2,*,
  2. Florencia Caneto1,
  3. Javier Alejandro Garimaldi1,
  4. Belén del Valle Vera1 and
  5. Ricardo Marcos Pautassi2,3
  1. 1Laboratorio de Psicología, Facultad de Psicología, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Enrique Barros y Enfermera Gordillo s/n, Ciudad Universitaria, Córdoba, CP 5000, Argentina
  2. 2Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Córdoba, Argentina
  3. 3Instituto de Investigación Médica M. y M. Ferreyra, INIMEC-CONICET, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Córdoba, CP 5000, Argentina
  1. *Corresponding author: Laboratorio de Psicología, Facultad de Psicología, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Enrique Barros y Enfermera Gordillo s/n, Ciudad Universitaria, Córdoba, CP 5000, Argentina. Tel: +54 (0351) 4333064 int. 164; E-mail: angepilatti{at}
  • Received July 16, 2013.
  • Revision requested October 17, 2013.
  • Revision received November 4, 2013.
  • Accepted November 8, 2013.


Aims: The aim of the study was to analyze independent and potential interactive effects of age at drinking onset and family history of alcohol abuse on subsequent patterns of alcohol drinking, alcohol-related problems and substance use. Methods: Participants were college students (60.3% females, mean age = 20.27 ± 2.54 years) from the city of Córdoba, Argentina. Several measures were used to assess alcohol, tobacco and drug use. The Spanish version of the Brief Young Adult Alcohol Consequences Questionnaire was used to assess alcohol-related problems. Factorial analyses of variance, or its non-parametric equivalent, were performed to explore differences in substance use behaviors and alcohol-related problems in subjects with early or late drinking onset and with or without family history of alcohol abuse. Chi-square tests were conducted to analyze the association between these two risk factors and categorical measures of alcohol, tobacco and drug use. Results: Early onset of drinking was associated with amount of consumption of alcohol including up to hazardous levels, as well as tobacco and drug use. However, the frequency of alcohol problems and frequency of episodes of alcohol intoxication were only related to age of onset in those with a positive family history of alcohol problems. Conclusion: Delaying drinking debut is particularly important in the prevention of future alcohol problems in those adolescents who have a family history of such problems.

  1. Alcohol and Alcoholism

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‘Lead Us Not into Temptation’: Adolescence and Alcohol Policy in Europe

  1. Ann Hope*
  1. Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
  1. *Corresponding author: E-mail: annhope{at}

Although the World Health Organization and the European Community recognize harm to children and young people due to alcohol—whether their own or someone else's drinking—effective policies to reduce harm are not widely followed. The alcohol beverage industry's drive to use social networking systems blurs the line between user-generated and industry marketing materials, such that young people are more frequently and at a younger age, potentially exposed to the promotion of alcoholic drinks. This contravenes recommendations arising out of the emerging scientific literature that delaying the onset of drinking and reducing the prevalence of heavy session drinking are likely to promote a healthier next generation.


  1. Sir Ian Gilmore*
  1. University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3BX, UK
  1. *Corresponding author: E-mail: igilmore{at}

It is hard to imagine a more serious and far-reaching topic than the subject of this Issue, the brains of the next generation of adults. There are chilling statistics provided here both on the drinking patterns of children of school age and on the susceptibility of their brains to this early exposure to alcohol. It is tempting to say that the young have always kicked over the traces and experimented, it was the same in our day and there is nothing new under the sun. But these aphorisms disguise a step change in the last 20 years in the number of children exposed and potentially harmed by alcohol. …