Teenage girls targeted for sweet-flavored alcoholic beverages

CHICAGO — The American Medical Association (AMA) released the results of two nationwide polls today that reveal the extent of underage consumption and marketing exposure to “alcopops” or so-called “girlie drinks.” The AMA expressed concern that hard-liquor brands are using these sweet-flavored malt beverages as “gateway” beverages to attract less-experienced drinkers.

Key findings of the two polls released Thursday include:

[list]
*]Approximately one-third of teen girls report having tried alcopops, and one out of six have done so in the past six months.
*]More teen girls have had alcopops in the past six months than teen boys (31 percent versus 19 percent).
*]Teen girls report drinking alcopops more than other alcoholic drinks, whereas adult women age 21 or older rank it as their least-consumed alcoholic beverage.
*]For teens who have had alcoholic drinks in the past six months, girls drank more in all categories (beer, wine, alcopops and hard-liquor drinks) than boys.
*]Nearly one in six teen girls who have drunk alcopops in the past six months have been sexually active after drinking.
*]One out of four teen girls who have tried alcopops have driven after drinking or ridden in a car with a driver who had been drinking.
*]One out of five teen girls who have tried alcopops have thrown up, or passed out, from drinking.
*]Half (51 percent) of teen girls have seen alcopops ads.
*]Nearly half of all girls aged 16-18 report seeing alcopops ads on TV, compared to only 34 percent of women 21 or older.
*]Teen girls report seeing or hearing more alcopops ads on TV, radio, billboards, the Internet and in magazines more than women 21 or older.
[/list]The Journal of Human Resources reported in 2001 that teen girls who binge drink are 63 percent more likely to get pregnant in their teen years. And compared with non-drinkers, girls who drink suffer from higher rates of depression, suicidal thoughts and complications with puberty and menstruation.

Thoughts?

The question is “is this a target to go after teenage girls” or is this a “target for women and teenage girls are caught up in it”

My guess is that the companies are targeting women/men with a sweet tooth in general and teenager girls like the taste as much as the 21+ women.

The result does not prove the means.

They could be targeting the teenaged girls. I don’t know if the liquor industry exactly parallels the tobacco industry in this respect, but the tobacco companies have research that shows if a person doesn’t start smoking by a certain age (I don’t remember whether it was 18, or 20, or 21), it is likely that that person will never start smoking. To get new customers, they have to target young people, whether they admit it or not. Maybe the alcohol companies are doing the same thing.

[quote=CarolAnnSFO]They could be targeting the teenaged girls. I don’t know if the liquor industry exactly parallels the tobacco industry in this respect, but the tobacco companies have research that shows if a person doesn’t start smoking by a certain age (I don’t remember whether it was 18, or 20, or 21), it is likely that that person will never start smoking. To get new customers, they have to target young people, whether they admit it or not. Maybe the alcohol companies are doing the same thing.
[/quote]

I don’t think that drinking and smoking are alike in that respect, but that is just my opinion. What are we basing the opinion on. Even if the liquor companies are going after less experianced drinkers, that doesn’t mean all those drinkers they want to start are underaged. I haven’t seen any adds for anything recently, but I don’t watch a ton of TV. Has anyone else noticed the adds? and if so where?

[quote=CarolAnnSFO]the tobacco companies have research that shows if a person doesn’t start smoking by a certain age…it is likely that that person will never start smoking.
[/quote]

The difference is that alcohol can be responsibly consumed without posing a threat to your health. I doubt the same need is there for alcohol companies to “hook 'em while they’re young”. After all, I never drank before I was 21, but had no problem doing so once I was legal.

The fact is that many women (and men for that matter) just don’t like the taste of alcohol, but do enjoy its effects. So the companies, in an effort to cater to them created sweet-tasting drinks that don’t taste like alcohol. I think the unfortunate side-effect is that young people, used to high-sugar drinks like soda, Kool-Aid, etc, are even more tempted by alcohol that tastes good.

And compared with non-drinkers, girls who drink suffer from higher rates of depression, suicidal thoughts and complications with puberty and menstruation.

One thing that comes to mind with the above quote is that it could well be a chicken-egg thing–even though we all know that alcohol is in the depressant category, there are a lot of people who are depressed who attempt self-medication, and alcohol is one of those substances with which the attempt is made.

I’ve never seen this particular item, nor advertising for it, so I really don’t know enough to form an opinion about whether teenagers are a target or an ‘accidental’ market.

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