While some countries, such as France and Norway have banned all alcohol advertising on television and billboards, in the English speaking countries of the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the USA advertising of alcohol is generally permitted. In these countries there is a mix of regulation by governments and industry. For example, in the United States there are self-regulatory bodies, such as the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, that establish standards within limits set by federal and state governments. According to Wikipedia:
Currently, the standard is that alcohol advertisements can only be placed in media where 70% of the audience is over the legal drinking age. Alcohol advertising's creative messages should not be designed to appeal to people under the age of 21, for example, using cartoon characters as spokespeople is discouraged. Advertising cannot promote brands based on alcohol content or its effects. Advertising must not encourage irresponsible drinking. Another issue in media placement is whether media vendors will accept alcohol advertising. The decision to accept an individual ad or a category of advertising is always at the discretion of the owner or publisher of a media outlet. In the United States, there are several television networks that, although their viewers may be above the legal drinking age, do not accept "vice" advertising like alcohol advertising on principle. Currently the tobacco industry is forbidden to advertise on TV. Because of strong self-regulation, alcohol advertising has mostly avoided regulation by the federal government. The Federal Trade Commission has conducted investigations of possible targeting to those under the age of 21. However, its investigations and that of scholars have not found evidence of such targeting. Concerns exist that irresponsible advertising practices or "pushing the envelope" with audience composition may lead to permanent legislation governing the advertising of beverage alcohol.
Alcohol is essentially a legal drug. As is the case in the use of any drug, there are health risks related to alcohol consumption. According to the CDC:
There are approximately 79,000 deaths attributable to excessive alcohol use each year in the United States. This makes excessive alcohol use the 3rd leading lifestyle-related cause of death for the nation. In the single year 2005, there were over 1.6 million hospitalizations and over 4 million emergency room visits for alcohol-related conditions.
Do you think alcohol advertising should continue as is, should it be regulated more, or should it be banned? If it were banned, should it be a complete ban, or should it be limited to certain media, times, locations, etc.?