Online Program

Use of state regulatory power in alcohol control states to ban problematic products

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 1:30 p.m. - 1:50 p.m.

Elyse Grossman, JD, Ph.D, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Jane Binakonsky, JD, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
David Jernigan, Ph.D., Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Background: Alcohol is responsible for 4,300 deaths a year in the US among persons under 21. Alcohol companies innovate rapidly and produce new products that prove highly popular among young people. The primary responsibility for regulation of alcohol in the US lies at the state level, and states vary greatly in their regulatory structures and thus in their ability to govern which products become available within their borders. In particular, the 17 “control states” and locally-controlled jurisdictions, because they exercise monopoly control over some aspect of alcohol distribution, have at times exercised their powers to block particular products from sale. This paper will explore the uses of state regulatory power in control states to restrict the sale of new alcohol products within their borders, and the reasoning states use to justify those decisions.

Methods: In collaboration with the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association – the professional association for control states – we conducted what we believe is the first survey ever to investigate control state procedures and policies that govern the sale of new products in their jurisdictions.

Results: Examples of products that control states have banned include alcoholic energy drinks, pre-made Jell-O shots and grain alcohol. Whereas all control states have the authority to determine what products will be sold and distributed, states vary in the degree to and frequency with which they use those powers. Justifications for banning products include flavorings or packaging appealing to underage drinkers, credibility of the producer/vendor, blurring of distinctions between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and judgment that the product was not socially responsible.

Conclusions: Overall, whereas it is easier for control states to limit access to problematic alcohol products than license states, where such a ban usually requires legislative action, even control states vary in the degree to which they use these powers.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Explain how alcohol control states use state regulatory power to ban problematic products

Keyword(s): Alcohol Use, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have both a law degree and a doctoral degree in public policy with a focus on health law and policy. My work to date has looked at the intersection of alcohol and substance abuse law and policy.
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.