When the alcohol industry developed and marketed sugary sweet wine coolers with kid friendly flavors like bubble gum and Cherry Coke, they had young people in mind.
Then alcohol producers boldly developed alcopops. The best-known among them is Four Loko. Alcopops are supersized at 23.5-ounces in a single serving. The high-octane alcohol content is a staggering 12-percent and the cans are deceptively camouflaged to look like a soda can. Unsuspecting parents might not even notice them next to other soda cans.
According to Michelle Simon, the former Director of an alcohol watch dog group, “these products are extremely dangerous because they are cheap, taste like soda and give young drinkers a big alcohol bang for their buck.”
Recently, the FTC forced the manufacturers of the Four Loko to label their cans with labels that state that each serving of alcopop has as much alcohol as four to five cans of beer. By most definitions, just one serving of Four Loko or similar alcopop drink is the equivalent of binge drinking. The Center for Disease Control defines binge drinking as four to five drinks in a row within an hour.
These super sized, alcohol laden drinks are a perfect fit for teenage drinkers. Teens, unlike adults, must drink as much alcohol as possible in the shortest amount of time. Most teens won’t be lounging around their parent’s homes or the local bar drinking at a leisurely pace. Teens must hide their drinking and have time limited opportunities to drink alcohol.
In my opinion, putting a warning label on alcopops about its high alcohol content is a victory for alcohol manufacturers. Rather than discouraging young drinkers from consuming alcopops, it may in fact compel them to seek the drinks out. Ironically, the labels may act as a powerful advertisement that boosts sales.
Reach the writer at Hurlburt@wildblue.net