In 2016, alcohol companies made billions by drinking underage

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Underage drinking. Credit: Rutgers Center for Alcohol & Substance Use Studies

Juveniles consumed $ 17.5 billion, or 8.6 percent, of the alcohol sold in 2016. The products of three alcohol companies – AB Inbev, MillerCoors and Diageo – accounted for almost half of youth consumption, according to a new study published in the Journal of Alcohol and Drug Studies.

The data collected in a flagship study on youth alcohol consumption by brand allowed the authors to calculate the first estimate in almost 20 years of the monetary value of youth alcohol consumption. And, for the first time, they were able to attribute that revenue to specific companies.

“The alcohol industry has said they don’t want to drink minors, but when we counted the drinks, it was clear they were making billions of dollars from those sales,” said co-author Pamela J. Trangenstein, Ph.D. D., Assistant Professor of Health Behavior at the University of North Carolina, Gillings School of Global Public Health. “There is a clear disconnect when an industry advocates for prevention, but then earns billions of dollars from the failure of prevention.”

Alcohol is the number 1 drug used among people aged 12 to 20 years. Although underage consumption has declined in recent years, alcohol remains responsible for approximately 3,500 deaths annually among people under the age of 21, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Our previous studies have repeatedly shown that young people are exposed and influenced by alcohol marketing,” said co-author David H. Jernigan, a Ph.D., professor at Boston University and co-author of the study. “Yes they are really committed to prevention drinking, they should be willing to allocate that income to an independent agency capable of tackling underage alcoholism without any conflict of interest. “

The Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council, the scientific advisory body to Congress, made this recommendation in its 2003 report on underage alcohol consumption. In 2006, Congress unanimously passed the first legislation devoted exclusively to reducing underage alcohol consumption. Although this legislation authorized spending $ 18 million, Congress has never spent the full amount. In fact, Congress recently made permanent the tax cuts planned for alcohol companies in the 2017 tax cuts.

“Community coalitions in North Carolina and across the country are constantly asking for dollars to support their work on minors. “Trangenstein said.” Our study identifies a clear source for much-needed funding. Families and communities pay the price, even though they are big companies get all the benefits “.


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More information:
Eck, RH, Trangenstein, PJ, Siegel, M. and Jernigan, DH (2021). Company-specific income for underage drinking. Journal of Alcohol and Drug Studies, 82, 368-376. DOI: 10.15288 / jsad.2021.82.368

Citation: Alcohol companies earned billions of underage drinks in 2016 (2021, June 10), recovered on June 10, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-06-alcohol-companies -billions-underage.html

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