Journal of Public Health Policy

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 105–118 | Cite as

Evidence of underage targeting of alcohol advertising on television in the United States: Lessons from the Lockyer v. Reynolds decisions

  • Craig S RossEmail author
  • Joshua Ostroff
  • David H Jernigan
Original Article


Underage alcohol use is a global public health problem and alcohol advertising has been associated with underage drinking. The alcohol industry regulates itself and is the primary control on alcohol advertising in many countries around the world, advising trade association members to advertise only in adult-oriented media. Despite high levels of compliance with these self-regulatory guidelines, in several countries youth exposure to alcohol advertising on television has grown faster than adult exposure. In the United States, we found that exposure for underage viewers ages 18–20 grew from 2005 through 2011 faster than any adult age group. Applying a method adopted from a court in the US to identify underage targeting of advertising, we found evidence of targeting of alcohol advertising to underage viewers ages 18–20. The court's rule appeared in Lockyer v. Reynolds (The People ex rel. Bill Lockyer v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, GIC764118, 2002). We demonstrated that alcohol companies were able to modify their advertising practices to maintain current levels of adult advertising exposure while reducing youth exposure.


alcohol self-regulation television advertising underage drinking Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Craig S Ross
    • 1
    Email author
  • Joshua Ostroff
    • 1
  • David H Jernigan
    • 2
  1. 1.Virtual Media Resources, Inc.NatickUSA
  2. 2.The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA

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