by Bill Watkins, 10/2/2019
Richard Nixon banned Cigarette ads in 1970. He was aware through common sense and a 1964 Surgeon General study that cigarette use killed a lot of people, and he signed their advertising out of American existence…
Not so with alcohol, C2H5OH, the colorless, volatile, flammable, toxic liquid resulting from fermentation some like to buy and drink. As with cigarettes, alcohol is a mass killer of human beings, a mass destroyer of public property and very hard to control. And yet our televisions pitch it to us daily, ramping up during sporting events—whether in prime time or at six in the morning during British football broadcasts on NBC.
The scariest numbers in this are 88,000 and 28.4%. That first number is how many people in this country die every year of alcohol-related causes, third most of all preventable causes of death, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Alcohol only behind cigarettes and poor diet/exercise habits, according to the Institute.
28.4% is the percentage of under-21 viewership of alcohol ads allowed by law, according to the FTC. As there are about 100 million Americans under twenty one, by current FTC guidelines and alcohol’s self-regulation, it’s acceptable to advertise the buying and drinking of a dangerous liquid to about twenty-eight million young people under twenty-one years of age.
The FTC has no record of how many alcoholics the alcohol industry pitches in advertising every year. NIAAA claims fifteen million Americans over-18 suffer from alcoholism, over six percent of that age group’s population. Is it fair that someone struggling with alcoholism, or a sober alcoholic, can tune into their favorite sporting event on TV, only to be hammered with ads that pitch him or her to engage in an activity that could or almost killed them?
Like guns, alcohol is a mainstay in this “great democracy” set up on usurped Native American land. Europeans brought alcohol, guns, disease, and a bible—used them to control this land. At what point will we decide to stop, analyze what is truly good, maybe listen and follow what that book taught on God, not killing and heaven? If Nixon can hit back on a killing substance in 1970, take away some of its power, why not Trump with alcohol? Just kidding. But maybe a lawmaker like Amy Klobuchar, who has seen the harm of alcohol up close?
Maybe we can all find our inner common sense, reverse rudders on this crude, usurped land management, ask Native America back, kick out killers like guns and alcohol. At the least, we can kick out the ads—a precedented step not easy against a Washington alcohol machine, but a needed one to protect America’s greatest resource: our children.