The influence of alcohol outlet density and advertising on youth drinking in urban Tanzania
- High density of alcohol outlets in Dar es Salaam facilitates adolescent alcohol use.
- Alcohol advertisements and other marketing strategies are very salient with youth.
- Adolescent participants’ responses corroborated community mapping findings.
- Participants’ proposed changes to the alcohol environment may curb youth alcohol use.
- Participants’ suggestions align with globally recommended structural interventions.
Strong national efforts that regulate all forms of alcohol advertising and marketing in Tanzania will counter aggressive marketing campaigns that target adolescents and normalize alcohol use.
The high density of alcohol-selling venues in the areas we investigated makes alcohol readily available to youth,” said Marni Sommer, DrPH, RN, associate professor of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia Mailman School, per EurekAlert.
Despite the detrimental effects of alcohol on adolescent health, high rates of alcohol use are reported among Tanzanian youth. The researchers conducted systematic community mapping and participatory group activities with 177 adolescents in Dar es Salaam to explore how alcohol outlet density and advertising may contribute to adolescent alcohol use in urban Tanzania.
Findings revealed a high density of alcohol-selling outlets and outdoor advertisements. The abundance of alcohol-related cues, including their close proximity to places where youth congregate, may facilitate and increase adolescent alcohol use in Tanzania.
Participants recommended several changes to the alcohol environment to reduce adolescent alcohol use.
Structural interventions that reduce adolescents’ access and exposure to alcohol are needed in Tanzania.
Our study participants concur that instead of focusing on individual behaviors and consumption patterns, community zoning to restrict the number of alcohol-selling outlets per area have the potential to reduce alcohol use among adolescents in Tanzania,” said Sommer.