“First Presidency Supports Ban on U.S. Alcohol Advertising,” Ensign, Apr. 1985, 77
The First Presidency recently submitted a statement for a hearing of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse which supports banning or severely limiting media advertising of alcoholic beverages.
The statement reads:
“Many authorities, including the U.S. Public Health Service and the Secretary of Health and Human Services in their most recent reports to the Congress, have recognized that alcohol is the most widely used and abused drug in America. It is ironic that there are restrictions on advertising and marketing of most drugs but none to discourage consumption of alcohol, where in excess of $1 billion is spent annually on advertising heavily directed at youth.
“Since the alcohol and advertising industries have not been able to institute adequate self-regulation, many citizens and organizations are now proposing restrictions on alcohol advertising.
“Our youth, America’s greatest national asset, are the hope and future of this great country. They deserve our best efforts to protect them from drug abuse. Existing scientific evidence of the far-reaching harmful effects of alcohol abuse requires that the public interest be protected by measures to restrict the excessive advertising of this tragically abused drug.
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints joins with others calling for a ban or stringent curtailment of alcohol advertising on all media.”
The statement, says Richard P. Lindsay, managing director of Public Communications for the Church, reflects the Church’s concern about the growing problem of alcohol abuse among teenagers. A recent Gallup poll reported that 59 percent of U.S. youth ages thirteen to eighteen said they had used alcohol more than once; 17 percent admitted trying alcohol once. Only 23 percent said they had never tried alcohol.
Drunk or drug-impaired driving is the chief cause of death among young people ages fifteen to twenty-four in the United States.
“While national efforts to control drunk driving are commendable, it seems ironic that we place so little emphasis upon efforts to prevent the tragic consequences that are inherent in the rising tide of youth who begin to drink at an ever-earlier age,” Brother Lindsay commented.