Marketing Alcohol To Kids In America
F. Mosher, Legal Consultant
International Institute for Alcohol Awareness and Center
Director of the PIRE's Center for the Study of Law and Enforcement
February 16, 2006
Teenage girls and young women are rapidly increasing their alcohol
consumption and are now rivaling their male counterparts. In fact,
according to a report in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, women
ages 21 to 24 drank 33 percent more alcoholic drinks in 2004 than
they did five years earlier. A leading contributor to this trend
is the evolution of alcoholic beverages aimed specifically at
more youthful tastes.
Alcoholic beverage manufacturers are turning increasingly to
fruity, sweet and fizzy drinks, called "alcopops." New
brands continue to appear, attempting to capture market share.
In most states, alcopops containing distilled spirits are misclassified
as beer. And they are being marketed to teenagers, especially
teenage girls, who are falling victim to the destructive effects
of underage drinking. In fact, the American Medical Association
(AMA) reports that teenage girls are drinking these fruity drinks
twice as often as boys, and a full one-third of all girls age
12 and older have tried alcopops.
Alcopops pose a serious health threat to young women, many of
whom mistakenly think that the drinks contain less alcohol than
beer. AMA statistics are sobering, showing that one in four girls
who consumed an alcopop either drove afterward or rode in a vehicle
with a driver who had been drinking, and many girls as young as
13 say that they were sexually active after drinking alcopops.
The California Senate held a hearing on Tuesday to discuss ways
to protect teenagers against the dangers associated with alcopops.
Specifically, the State is debating the classification of alcopops
as distilled spirits, making them subject to stricter regulation
and higher taxes and harder for teenagers to obtain.
The evidence is clear: Alcopops pose a significant danger to
our youth. Responsible alcoholic beverage manufacturers must take
steps to ensure that these products are not advertised to teenagers,
and the government must recognize alcopops for what they are -
soda pop injected with hard liquor.
James F. Mosher is a national expert on the problem of underage
drinking and effective strategies to prevent it. He is available
for interviews upon request.
For more information contact Jim Gogek at 619-251-4675 or Michelle
Blackston at 619-654-6068.