Liquor Ads Tempt Recovering Alcoholics, UT Study Shows (235)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Alcohol beverage ads trigger the urge in recovering alcoholics to resume drinking, a University of Tennessee study indicates.

 Dr. Ron Taylor, head of advertising in UT-Knoxville’s College of Communications, directed the study based on interviews with 20 recovering alcoholics.

 Taylor said 18 of the interviewees cited TV commercials, magazine ads, billboards and other alcohol beverage ads as major impediments to their recovery.

 “Alcohol beverage advertisements caused some recovering alcoholics to experience physical cravings and greatly impaired their ability to exercise restraint over their drinking,” Taylor said.

 The UT study also showed:

 * Certain images and techniques, especially music and party scenes, are most troubling to alcoholics.

 * Alcoholics were able to overcome ad-triggered craving by consciously thinking of negative aspects of alcohol, such as being in a drunk tank or pain suffered by family members.

 * The influence of advertising seems to diminish with length of time in recovery.

 The liquor industry, fearing a loss of market share to beer and wine, last week announced plans to advertise products such as tequila, whiskey and vodka on television. The industry has voluntarily banned TV ads since 1948. ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox networks say they will not air liquor ads.

 “Our study suggests that one of the things that has to be part of an effective treatment program is teaching people to deal with or reinterpret advertising messages that encourage people to drink,” Taylor said.

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 Contact: Dr. Ron Taylor (423-974-3048)