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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 21, 2007
Advertising on alcoholic energy drinks misleading, AGs say

Olympia - Attorney General Rob McKenna joined 29 other attorneys general nationwide today in urging 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.

In a letter to TTB Administrator, John Manfreda, the 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.

The letter further states that the addition of caffeine and other stimulants to alcohol may cause an increased risk to young consumers.  Aggressive marketing campaigns claim these alcoholic energy beverages increase a person’s stamina or can have an energizing effect. 

The Attorney General’s Office participates in the Washington State Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking. RUaD’s primary goals include increasing public awareness about the harmful effects of underage drinking, providing guidance that may impact public policy and collecting information and concerns from local communities. For more information, visit their Web site at: www.starttalkingnow.org

Attorney General McKenna also worked closely with the Washington State Liquor Control Board in supporting its campaign to curb underage drinking at the middle school level.

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.

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Media Contact:           J. Ryan Shannon, Media Relations Manager, (360) 753-2727

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