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Cricket and Soccer Are Turning Australian Children on to Drinking

Alcohol advertising is associated with greater alcohol consumption in children and adolescents and according to new research, Australian youth received 51 million exposures to alcohol advertising last year.

Young Australians are being bombarded with booze ads.

Between bus stops, Instagram, and "alcopop" reviews written by children, there aren't many places where young people in the country are sheltered from big booze companies hawking beer and, of course, boxed wine. In fact, it's such a common problem that there is an annual award given to the "worst" alcohol advertising targeting.

READ MORE: Australia's Worst Booze Ad Was Written by a 12-Year-Old


And now, according to new research from Monash University, even wholesome sporting events have become a considerable source of booze endorsements, and that is problematic.

"Alcohol advertising is associated with greater alcohol consumption in children and adolescents," the academics wrote in the Drug and Alcohol Review. "Children and adolescents received 51 million exposures to alcohol advertising, with 47 percent of this exposure occurring during the daytime. Children's and adolescents' exposure to alcohol advertising was similar to young adults and peaked after 8:30 PM."

The recent study found some 3,544 alcohol advertisements being aired during sporting events, with almost half of them taking place during the day. Most of those ads (1,942) were shown during soccer matches, followed by cricket (941), and rugby (661). And that doesn't even include the brand names that appear on players' uniforms, plastered all over stadiums, and on the actual turf of those venues.

"What was striking was the extent of children's exposure because of the clause allowing alcohol advertising in daytime sport. It's banned in every other TV genre because it's known to be harmful to children, so why is sport exempt? It just doesn't make sense," lead researcher and author Sherilene Carr told Daily News and Analysis India.

The Monash University team concluded its article with an explicit recommendation. "The regulations should be changed to reduce children and adolescent excessive exposure to alcohol advertising when watching sport."

They also point to a failure by lawmakers to insulate kids from advertisers who are selling swill during sports events. "Current alcohol advertising regulations are not protecting children and adolescents from exposure, particularly in prominent televised sports."

All of which begs the larger question of why young people would ever watch cricket in the first place