Published: Jan 05, 2013 07:00 PM
Modified: Jan 05, 2013 04:51 PM
Product advertisements promise to shrink us, enlarge us and free us from wrinkles (using 30-year-old models). But we are adults and would not dare spend our hard-earned cash on unrealistic claims. This year I have challenged more than 700 young people to ask Who authored the message, why do they want me to use it and what will it do to me?
Here are claims from advertisers about alcopops. There are more than 100 brands. Examples are Smirnoff Ice, Jack Daniels Original Hard Cola, Captain Morgan Gold and Mikes Hard Lemonade.
• With younger drinkers, their palates havent quite matured yet to drinks like bourbon. Malternatives are a sweeter drink, theyre easier to drink and it takes less time to mature to the taste. Trish Rohrer, brand-development manager, Boston Beer Co. (Restaurants USA, May 2002)
• This is the perfect bridging beverage (between carbonated fruit juices and the new hard lemonades). Terry Hopper, national sales manager, Sublime Hard Lemonade (Washington Post, Sept. 13, 2000)
Approximately 42.5 percent of Durham high school students surveyed in 2009 had at least one drink of alcohol on one or more of the past 30 days and 21 percent had five or more drinks of alcohol in a row, that is, within a couple of hours, on one or more of the past 30 days. The statistics for 2011 are not yet available.
Underage drinking affects brain development. Young people experience high rates of alcoholic-related violence, motor-vehicle accidents, assaults, homicide, suicide, traumatic injury, drowning, burns, property crime, high risk sex, fetal alcohol syndrome, alcohol poisoning, and need for treatment for alcohol abuse and dependence. Young people who begin drinking before age 15 are seven times more likely to develop alcohol dependence and are two and a half times more likely to misuse alcohol later in life than those who begin drinking at age 21. It is estimated that teenage girls who binge drink are up to 63 percent more likely to become teen mothers and at three times the risk of thinking about or attempting suicide than girls who never drink alcohol.
We can change this. We can help save lives.
Several states have obtained decisions from their attorneys general defining alcopops as distilled spirits that should be treated and taxed accordingly. For example, New Jersey law requires alcoholic beverages that contain distilled spirits to be taxed at the higher rate of $5.50 per gallon. The estimated savings? $324,428,600 youth violence, $101.5 million; youth traffic crashes $58 million; high-risk sex, ages 14-20 $23.8 million; youth property crime $11.3 million; youth injury, $7.3 million; poisonings and psychoses $3.2 million; fetal alcohol syndrome among mothers 15-20, $3.9 million; and youth alcohol treatment, $5.7 million.
We have provided sample policy language to North Carolina legislators because we want these products to only be sold in ABC stores. Join the more than 500 citizens that have signed the Alcohol Reclassification form. Go to DurhamTRY.org
click on News and Alerts.