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Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum

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AG HARDY MYERS URGES TTB TO STOP MANUFACTURERS OF ALCOHOLIC ENERGY DRINKS FROM MISLEADING ADVERTISING

August 21, 2007

Attorney General Urges Federal Agency To Stop Alcoholic Manufacturers From Using Misleading Advertising Of Alcoholic Energy Drinks

Attorney General Hardy Myers today urged the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) to stop alcohol manufacturers from making misleading health-related statements when advertising alcoholic beverages that contain caffeine and other stimulants. Myers was joined by 29 attorneys general nationwide.

In a letter to TTB Administrator John Manfreda, Myers and the other attorneys general said that alcoholic energy drinks mimic non-alcoholic energy beverages that are very popular with youth. They warn that alcoholic energy drinks pose serious health and safety risks. According to medical researchers and public health professionals, the stimulants in alcoholic energy drinks may cause an intoxicated person to falsely believe that he or she can continue to drink and function normally.

Myers noted that aggressive marketing campaigns claim these alcoholic energy beverages increase a person's stamina or can have an energizing effect. For instance, BudExtra has an advertising slogan, "You can sleep when you're thirty" and makes claims of renewed strength through the guarana fruit known for its ability to increase vitality. "However, the ads do not mention the potentially severe, adverse consequences of mixing caffeine or other stimulants and alcohol," Myers added.

"Non-alcoholic energy drinks are very popular with today's youth," Myers said. "Beverage companies are unconscionably appealing to young drinkers with claims about the stimulating properties of alcoholic energy drinks. We urge TTB to take action to stop companies from making misleading claims."

As TTB has recognized in one of its own publications, "Alcohol is the nation's number one drug problem among youth, and it is involved in teen automobile crashes, homicides and suicides, the three leading causes of teen death." The Surgeon General recently reported that approximately 5,000 people under the age of 21 die each year from alcohol-related injuries. Alcohol also contributes to risky sexual behavior, poor school performance, and other psychological and sociological dysfunctions among youth.

The attorneys general also requested a TTB investigation into the makeup of alcoholic energy drinks and other flavored malt beverages to determine whether, based on the percentage of distilled spirits contained in the drinks, they are properly classified as malt beverages under federal law. The malt beverage classification, in many states, enables cheaper and broader sale of these drinks, making them more readily available to young people than distilled spirits.

Oregonians wanting more information about this topic and consumer protection in their state may call the Attorney General's consumer hotline at (503) 378-4320 (Salem area only), (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only) or toll-free at 1-877-877-9392. The Oregon Department of Justice is online at www.doj.state.or.us.

Contact:

Stephanie Soden, (503) 378-6002
Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) jan.margosian@doj.state.or.us |
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