5 Lies the Alcohol Industry Wants You to Buy
Updated: Apr 7
Glamorized advertisements for alcohol seem to be everywhere. We see them in commercials, social media, movies, tv shows, and on billboards at bus stops, highways, and arenas. And we all know the familiar images. Advertisers’ always pair alcohol with popular, happy, athletic, and adventurous people. We know they are not always realistic.
But what is real is that youth and young adults ARE being intentionally manipulated by the industry with billions of dollars invested annually. And it is done so well that it influences many young people’s behavior. It’s sneaky. They are given a false impression that puts them at risk. But alcohol is much more dangerous than they are led to believe. So, in today’s blog, we will go over 5 lies that the alcohol industry wants you to buy and why they are false.
Lie #1: “Everyone” Drinks
The rumor that everyone drinks is false! The fact is most young people do not drink! It might be hard to believe since the media and social media highlight people constantly drinking and partying. But we have to keep reminding ourselves that sometimes media does not show the whole picture. The fact is, 29% of 12th graders and 8% of 8th graders had an alcoholic drink last month. So if youth choose not to drink they are choosing what is most popular!
Lie #2: Sports and Alcohol Go Together- Adds with Athletes
When people think of sport games, usually their mind quickly goes to cookouts, tailgate parties, and groups of friends viewing a game while drinking alcohol. And that’s because alcohol commercials show that “sports and alcohol go together”. But they try to give the impression alcohol is not just for the fans. You will often see people engaged in athletic activities like rock climbing and biking during alcohol commercials. The fact is, most professional and many nonprofessional athletes do not use alcohol. Here’s why. Athletes know 1 night of drinking can erase 2 weeks of training because it causes dehydration, is high in calories, eliminates restful sleep, and decreases immune function and their ability to heal. Imagine training so hard for a competition and throwing away 2 weeks of training for 1 night of drinking!
Lie #3: People Pass Out from Drinking All the Time. No Big Deal
Passing out from drinking IS a big deal! Throwing up and passing out is the bodies way of telling you that you drank too much and that you have alcohol poisoning.
The amount of alcohol it takes to make you pass out
is dangerously close to the amount it takes to kill you.
Death can - and does - occur from drinking too much. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant which means it slows down breathing, heart rate and lowers blood pressure. Once your brain has been depressed enough by alcohol, you pass out.
If you are with someone who passes out from drinking too much, please put them on their side (so they will not choke on their vomit) and check regularly that they are still breathing. Then call 911 and watch them very closely to see if their situation worsens.
When you call 911 you will be protected by the Good Samaritan Law that says if either of you are underage or drugs are involved you will NOT be arrested when you call for medical help for someone else. The key is you MUST STAY with them until help arrives. The law was developed because too many deaths have happened because people feared getting in trouble. Friends were leaving their drunk friend because they feared calling for help, and then they tragically died. And still too many deaths happen at parties right in front of everyone because they thought their friend was sleeping. But you can get them help and not get in trouble. Don’t risk your friend’s life.
Lie #4: Life is Boring Without Alcohol
People may believe life is boring without alcohol because commercials and media show a “fun, glamorized” party scene with alcohol use. But what the media does not show is the reality of what happens.
Alcohol changes how you act because it changes the way your brain thinks and feels. Hangovers, becoming aggressive and starting fights, driving, putting yourself in danger or hurting yourself, or making decisions you would not normally make are some outcomes of drinking too much. Regret is often a result. And sometimes serious consequences.
And alcohol can actually interfere with a good time. It stops your brain from being able to make memories resulting in blackouts and being unsure as to what actually took place. And alcohol related traffic crashes are also a leading cause of teen death.
Lie #5: Alcohol Ads Do Not Target Youth
Alcohol companies are using movies, TV, online ads, and social media to appeal to young people. Research shows that while browsing their feeds, young people are frequently shown ads showing alcohol in a positive manner. Additionally, frequency of alcohol ads are higher in publications that are popular with youth under age 20.
Studies have also shown that more screen time = more alcohol use among youth.
Check out our other blog: “Lights, Camera, Alcohol” to learn more about how alcohol and tobacco companies are targeting youth.
We all know that what you see on TV or social media may not be the reality or the whole picture. Next time you see an alcohol advertisement, see if you can spot the lie that they are trying to sell you. Stay educated and make sure your choice is what you want and is based on the truth!
Look for future articles where we will share more details and tips on how to talk to your youth about marijuana in a way that they will hear and be receptive to. Check out Omni Youth Programs YouTube videos “Let’s Talk Alcohol Part 2: “Is Alcohol a ‘Safer’ Drug?”
Also follow us on social media where we share youth marijuana and alcohol prevention tips and data!