Why Is Policy Change Needed?
“A national study published in January 2006 concluded that greater exposure to alcohol advertising contributes to an increase in drinking among underage youth. Specifically, for each additional ad a young person saw (above the monthly youth average of 23), he or she drank 1% more. For each additional dollar per capita spent on alcohol advertising in a local market (above the national average of $6.80 per capita), young people drank 3% more.” Moreover “An effort to estimate the likely effects of several alcohol policies on youth drinking behavior in the U.S. population concluded that a complete ban on alcohol advertising would be the most effective, resulting in 7,609 fewer deaths from harmful drinking and a 16.4% drop in alcohol-related life-years lost.” (The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth)
Examples of The 4 “P’s” of Policy Change:
- Increasing Price: Literally hundreds of studies have appeared in peer reviewed journals on the subject of increasing the price of alcohol. The evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of price increases as an effective tool in reducing underage or excessive consumption of alcohol.
Placement and Promotion:
- Decreasing Outlet Density: Studies have shown that the fewer outlets or places where people can get alcohol the less drinking that occurs and in turn the fewer alcohol related problems a community will experience. Switching from the public to the private sale of spirits in NC would likely increase outlet density.
- Reduce Youthful Exposure to Alcohol Ads: Reductions in youth exposure to alcohol advertising, whether through billboards, in-store signage or displays, radio or television ads or venue sponsorships has been shown to reduce underage drinking. Current industry self-monitoring practices are falling significantly short of the desired outcome.
- Eliminating Alcopops: In the late 90s alcoholic beverages started to emerge that defied traditional categories. Made from spirits but chalk full of sugar and flavorings these beverages, whose first generation included such popular brands as Mike’s Hard Lemonade and Smirnoff Ice, quickly became popular amongst young people. In fact, rates of drinking amongst adolescent females steadily increased over the last decade as these products became more popular. We are at a point now where the gap between male and female underage drinking rates is virtually non-existent, something that seemed implausible just 10 years ago. Though some of the original brands are still successful, many have given way to much more dangerous products that have built on loopholes in state laws to peddle a toxic mix of spirits and sugar in bright, colorful, single-serving cans.
- Take the 24 oz, 8% and higher products off the shelves: Attorneys General across the United States have called on the manufacturers of these dangerous single serving cans to halt production and sales. These products contain the equivalent of 3.5 servings of beer or more, are in bright colorful containers and full of sugar and flavorings.
- Properly classify alcopops: When these products first hit the market most states improperly classified them as a malt beverage. So in a state like ours these beverages are being sold in grocery and convenience stores when they actually contain spirits and should be sold in ABC stores only. Alcopops should be properly classified as a spirit, moved to ABC stores and taxed at the same rate as other spirits.
- Alcohol Justice: Stop Alcopops