A study just published in the US has suggested that teenagers are frequently more likely to see advertisements for alcoholic beverages than the adults they are targeted at.

The report, by the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at Georgetown University, found that youths aged from between 12 and 20 see 45% more beer ads in magazines, and 27% more ads for liquor than adults 21 and older.

Jim O'Hara, the center's executive director, called for stricter monitoring of advertising by the alcohol industry. "America's parents should be disturbed by these findings," O'Hara said. "They aren't seeing these ads but their children are because that's where the industry is putting them -- in the magazines their children read."

However, industry executives rejected the findings and questioned the methodology behind them. Dan Tearno, the vice president for corporate affairs at Heineken USA, said the definition of a youth-oriented magazine used in the study was much too strict. He said Heineken only advertises in magazines that have audiences who are, mostly, old enough to drink but the research group considered many of these to be significantly aimed at readers younger than 21.

O'Hara said the findings would be sent to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) which would be asked to look again at the issue of advertising regulation. In 1999, the FTC reported to Congress on the issue of alcohol advertising following public concern over its role in encouraging underage drinking. The FTC recommended that the industry tighten up its self-regulatory guidelines.