Young women are guzzling huge amounts of RTDs, a Massey University study has found.

A Massey University study has found women aged under 24 who buy RTDs drink around 24 litres a year — more than the heaviest group of male drinkers.

The finding has renewed calls to restrict alcohol advertising and sponsorship.

Alcohol Healthwatch executive director Dr Nicki Jackson told Larry Williams on Newstalk ZB that heavy drinking is costing New Zealand up to $1 billion a year.


She said binge-drinking was putting young brains at risk, creating alcohol-related harm and increased the risk of alcohol-spectrum disorder should a young woman become pregnant.

"This is not what we want for our young girls."

Restricting the amount of targeted alcohol brand advertising and reducing off-licence hours were two ways to control binge-drinking, Jackson said.

She said consistent longitudinal research showed a link between liking brands and drinking at a younger age and then drinking heavier quantities.

"Some of the restrictions that we need to be looking at is around advertising and marketing. These are young girls [are] drinking heavy quantities of RTDs, [which are] very much marketed towards young people.

"Good studies across the world show that when you do reduce the hours of off licences young people are less likely to be admitted to hospital. That's going to save us all money."

Jackson said one-third of all Kiwis under 24 were drinking high quantities of alcohol and consumption had increased across all age groups every year since 2011. The biggest increase was seen in those aged 35 to 54.

"This is not just a young person's problem. It is across the board."

- Additional reporting from NewstalkZB.