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Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2014 Nov;40(6):424-7. doi: 10.3109/00952990.2014.951122. Epub 2014 Sep 29.

Alcohol facts labels on Four Loko: will the Federal Trade Commission's order be effective in reducing hazardous drinking among underage youth?

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Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health , Baltimore , MD and.


Underage drinking accounts for 4400 alcohol-attributable deaths in the US each year. After several reports of the deaths of young people due to the consumption of the flavored-alcoholic beverage (FAB) Four Loko, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) examined whether Phusion Projects violated federal law by using deceptive marketing. In 2013, the FTC responded by ordering alcohol facts labels on Four Loko disclosing the number of standard drinks contained in the product. This paper aims to discuss whether the FTC's order for alcohol facts labels on Four Loko cans will effectively reduce the hazardous consumption of FABs among youth. The authors discuss the existing research that relates to the FTC's order, including studies on the effectiveness of serving size labeling for reducing youth drinking, research on the brand-specific consumption of FABs among underage youth, and the associations between youth drinking and exposure to alcohol marketing. After synthesizing the evidence, the authors conclude that simply requiring the disclosure of the number of standard drinks on supersized Four Loko cans is not likely to adequately address the hazardous consumption of this beverage among underage drinkers. Instead, if the FTC addresses the marketing of these products and its potential to encourage the excessive use of alcohol, as the Attorneys General did recently in a settlement with the same company, it is possible that there would be a greater impact on reducing youth alcohol consumption. Additional research is needed to determine the impact of alcohol facts labels in changing underage drinking behaviors.


Alcohol consumption; alcohol marketing; alcohol policy; flavored-alcoholic beverages; underage drinking

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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