246513 Bringing the new alcopops down to size: Current problems and model policy solutions

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 10:50 AM

Sarah Mart, MS, MPH , Research & Policy, Alcohol Justice, San Rafael, CA
In the United States, 10.7 million underage youth drink, and 7.2 million binge drink. Alcohol-related problems from underage drinking cost the country $60 billion annually. A large amount of that harm ($1.25 billion annually in California) is due to alcopops: fruity, sweet, fizzy, brightly colored alcoholic beverages promoted with youth–friendly names and marketing campaigns. In the early 2000's, alcopops with added caffeine and other stimulants gained widespread popularity with young and underage drinkers. In November 2010, the Food and Drug Administration's landmark ruling that caffeine is an unsafe additive in alcohol forced the producers of caffeinated alcoholic beverages to find new ways to drive sales of their reformulated products. Since then, Marin Institute has identified a new standard producers have defined for “supersized” alcopops without caffeine or other stimulants: single-serving cans holding twenty-four ounces of beverage containing alcohol content as high as twelve percent--the equivalent of 4.7 standard drinks of alcohol. At least ten states have proposed legislative bans on caffeinated alcoholic beverages in 2011, but none have proposed banning supersized alcopop products. Marin Institute has created model legislation to ban supersized alcopops to assist states in protecting youth and young adults from the harmful effects of these products. In addition to products and marketing strategies, we will discuss policy recommendations for states and the alcohol industry, including removal of supersized alcopops from the market.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Identify 3 aspects of recently released alcopop products that present high levels of risk to drinkers Identify popular brands of alcopop products and common marketing strategies producers use to promote them Describe various policy recommendations to prevent the sale of supersized alcopops, including model legislation

Keywords: Alcohol, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I research the alcohol industry, its products and the marketing strategies used to sell those products. I also research and advocate for reasonable, viable public health policy solutions to reduce the harm the alcohol industry causes.
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.