186263 Marketing alcoholic energy drinks to youth: Health dangers and policy action

Monday, October 27, 2008: 8:48 AM

Michele Simon, JD, MPH , Research and Policy, Marin Institute, San Rafael, CA
In 2007, Marin Institute released a ground-breaking study on a dangerous emerging product category of caffeine-laced alcohol, ie, energy drinks containing alcohol. The report describes how alcohol companies are capitalizing on the growing popularity of highly-caffeinated soft drinks among teenagers to create a dangerous combination of alcohol and stimulants. The report also describes how some companies are deliberately targeting youth with their marketing practices.

Now, more evidence has emerged about the dangers of mixing alcohol and caffeine. This presentation will provide the latest information about these products and the harm they are causing. In addition, state attorneys general and other policymakers are taking action.

But still the products remain on the market. This presentation aims to take this conversation to the next level by offering practical steps that advocates can take to address this problem. Model statutory language, for example, to ban the products, will be explained. Another policy strategy is to change the classification of these products from beer to distilled spirits, as Marin Institute helped accomplish in California. This will both raise the taxes and move them further out of the reach of youth. The goal is to offer professionals a range of policy options to address this serious public health threat.

Learning Objectives:
1) Recognize the brands and marketing strategies of alcoholic energy drinks 2) Understand the health and safety dangers inherent in these products 3) Mobilize action steps towards policy change in states and communities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I wrote the report I am presenting on
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.