A poll of 502 adults by TV Guide magazine has found that 52% disapprove of NBC's decision to air liquor ads, while 34% approved and 12% were not sure.

According to the results, women were more likely to oppose the ads - 64% disapproved, compared with 42% of men.

The TV Guide poll also found that 51% of respondents thought the commercials would increase consumption of hard liquor, and 57% thought it would influence teens to consume more.

The American Medical Association (AMA) is also firmly against the move. "The decision by NBC to accept advertising for liquor is shockingly irresponsible and should be reversed immediately," said AMA Trustee J. Edward Hill, MD. "It is obvious the network is putting its desire for profit far above the health of our nation - especially young people, who develop many of their ideas and expectations about alcohol from watching TV."

Despite this, however, 53% of respondents do not want Congress to act on the issue, compared with 42% who would like Congress to enact legislation banning hard liquor commercials on television.

NBC announced on 14th December it would end an historical prohibition on hard liquor ads on its network television. An advert for Diageo Plc's Smirnoff vodka was the first to air on NBC's popular "Saturday Night Live" program.