A new responsible drinking campaign aimed at discouraging underage youths from drinking alcohol has been launched by The South African Breweries (SAB).
The 18+ campaign is a call to action for adults to be role models in the fight against underage drinking, which SAB believes it has a responsibility to lead.
Research by the University of South Africa (UNISA) shows that a percentage of teenagers in the average South African home has at some stage experimented with alcohol, but that the vast majority of parents believe their kids do not drink. UK think tank Demos has done research which shows that parenting style is one of the most important and statistically reliable influences on whether a child will drink responsibly in adolescence and in adulthood.
SAB will use the 18+ campaign to drive education amongst adults on the topic of underage drinking and its dangers and consequences. It seeks to encourage adults to take another look at some of their beliefs and practices. International research on youth binge drinking has shown that the behaviour and influence of parents can have a significant impact on underage drinking, and the importance of educating parents.
Key messaging highlighted in the campaign includes that it is not okay to give teenagers a drink in order to ‘control ’ their consumption habits nor is it okay for a child under the age of 18 to be sent to buy alcohol for an adult. Parents and other adults should also not be taking children with them to a pub or tavern and it is not okay to do nothing when teenagers are seen drinking.
As a leading alcoholic beverage company in South Africa, SAB takes responsible drinking and the fight against alcohol abuse very seriously.
SAB’s message to South African adults is quite clear: It is not okay for underage youths to drink alcohol under any circumstances. Even small amounts of liquor can cause physical and psychological damage to their developing bodies. SAB believes that there should be no drinking for those who are under the age of 18.
SAB encourages parents to have open and honest conversations about alcohol with their children. The key message as part of the 18+ campaign is that parents must speak to our youth about alcohol before alcohol speaks to them.
South African personalities Melanie Bala and Robert Marawa are strong advocates against underage drinking and are ambassadors for the 18+ campaign. “All South African adults have a role to play in bolstering the efforts to reduce underage alcohol consumption and problems that arise if left unchecked, ” says Bala.
The American Academy of Pediatrics’ Policy Statement Alcohol Use by Youth and Adolescents says results of recent neuroscience research have shown the harmful effects of alcohol on adolescent brain development and added even more evidence to support the call to prevent and reduce underaged drinking. Data from the National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Study proved that the prevalence of both lifetime alcohol dependence and alcohol abuse increased the younger the child was when they started drinking.
18+ is calling on all adult South Africans to support the campaign and get involved in the fight against underage drinking. Pledges can be made on www.sab.co.za where there is also additional information on the issue of underage drinking, conversation guides to help parents with this difficult topic and suggestions on additional ways to get involved.
According to the 2012 UNISA Youth Research Unit Substance Abuse Survey, statistics show that:
- Around 15% of boys and 8% of girls said they’d had their first drink before age 13;
- People who begin drinking before the age of 15 are four times more likely to become alcohol dependent than those who have their first drink at age 20 or older;