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ALCOPOPS: Sweet, Cheap, and Dangerous to Youth

August 25th, 2016

Four LokoThe introduction of alcopops (flavored malt beverages) to the U.S. market in the late 1990s began a transformation within the alcohol industry that still unfolds today. Alcopops bent the rules on beer, defying proper classification while enticing youth with sweet flavors, higher alcohol content, low prices, and widespread availability. Though public health advocates quickly identified the dangers alcopops pose to youth, alcopop producers continue to flood social media and permeate the lives of the younger generations with alcopop marketing. In addition, the popularity of alcopops fueled the production of a never-ending variety of new alcohol products, all of which remain dangerously enticing to youth.

FINDINGS

  1.  Alcopops are popular among youth due to their sweet taste, extensive variety of flavors, low price, high alcohol content, and widespread availability.
  2.  Compared to other types of alcohol, alcopops cause disproportionate harm to youth.
  3. Alcopop market share has increased since the early 2000s, and is projected to continue climbing over the next five years.
  4.  The alcohol industry insists that Millennials are their target alcopop users, although reputable sources include youth as young as ages 16-20 in definitions of t he Millennial demographic.
  5.  The alcohol industry markets alcopops through user engagement on social media, as well as everyday life through event sponsorship.
  6.  Alcopop popularity fueled a wave of unique, youth-oriented alcohol products that blur traditional alcohol boundaries in the United States.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. The most effective evidence-based methods of reducing alcopop-related harm among youth are to increase prices, decrease availability, and limit advertising.
  2.  State attorneys general, community coalitions, and extensive collaboration are important to successful campaigns.
  3. State or local laws to regulate size and alcohol content and off-sale package sizes, bans on single-serve containers, city resolutions, and Alcopop-Free Zones are promising policies to decrease harm from alcopops.  

Click to read the full report: A Report from Alcohol Justice and the San Rafael Alcohol & Drug Coalition | December 2015

 

 

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