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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Teenage Consumption of Alcopops Leads to Injury

A new report has found that teenagers who drink supersized “alcopops” flavored drinks containing liquor such as Four Loko have an increased risk of injury, HealthDay reports. While makers of alcopops claim that their products are not intended for underage drinkers, the flashy packaging colors and fruit flavored contents most definitely appeal more to a younger market.

Researchers analyzed data collected from an online survey of more than 1,000 teens and young adults ages 13 to 20 who reported having consumed at least one alcoholic drink in the previous month, according to the article. Individuals who consumed super-sized alcopops were more than six times as likely to have experienced an alcohol-related injury, compared with those who did not have supersized alcopops.

The three types of alcopops are:
  • Malt-based flavored beverages (i.e. Mike’s Hard Lemonade or Smirnoff Ice).
  • Spirits-based premixed, ready-to-drink cocktails (i.e. Jack Daniel’s cocktails).
  • Supersized alcopops (i.e. Four Loko or Joose).
In a press release, the researchers who conducted the study pointed out that supersized alcohol beverages can contain the equivalent of between four and five alcoholic drinks. Consuming two or more flavored alcoholic beverages, according to researchers, was tied to reports of heavy episodic drinking, fighting and alcohol-related injuries.

“It is impossible to discuss harmful alcohol consumption among youth and not include supersized alcopops,” said study co-author David Jernigan, PhD, Director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “These low-priced and sweet-tasting beverages are associated with reports of dangerous consequences among youth.”

The findings were published in the American Journal of Public Health.

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