December 28, 2008

Drinking dangers recognized, but ignored

Many young people recognize the danger of binge drinking, but few view them as more than short-term problems, British researchers said.

Isabelle Szmigin of the University of Birmingham, England, commenting on recent research on binge drinking, said that although many young people acknowledge the damage that drinking too much can do to their health -- and the associated risks of physical and sexual assault -- few view these as more than short-term problems.

Christine Griffin of the University of Bath, England, analyzed 216 alcohol ads, both in print and broadcast, and found that although extreme drinking and determined drunkenness may be perceived as the norm among young people, evidence suggests that increased alcohol consumption among young people is leveling off.

Representations of binge drinking as a source of entertainment, coupled with pervasive coverage of drunken celebrities, have increased the social acceptance of binge drinking, the report said. Advertising representing the coolness of excessive drinking, along with the increasing use of Internet based social networking sites that are used to share images of drunken nights out, also enable young drinkers to see a link between alcohol and having fun, Griffin said.