Two Bills Take Aim At Underage Drinking
This week, Assembly Members Jim Beall, Jr. (D - San Jose) and Lori Saldaña (D - San Diego) will introduce two bills targeted at solving the Alcopops problem that is plaguing California. Alcopops Coalition Members, including youth, will be on hand when the bills are unveiled at a press conference on Thursday, February 15, 2007, at 1:30PM in the Speaker's Press Conference Room (Room 317) in the Capitol.
Alcopops are drinks such as Mike's Hard Lemonade, Smirnoff Ice, and Zima, that are marketed like soda and energy drinks, and have become very appealing to underage drinkers. These drinks contain hard liquor instead of malt products and are taxed at the level of beer and not distilled spirits.
"Product labeling and packaging in some cases make it nearly impossible to determine whether these products contain alcohol and, if they do, you can't tell their alcohol content," explained Assembly Member Beall. "Our legislative package of bills will help reduce underage drinking by reforming the marketing of these products, specifically marketing to youth."
“These drinks are intended for and marketed to entry-level drinkers, particularly teen-age girls and young women,” Assembly Member Saldaña said. “This puts them in danger of alcohol abuse, drunk driving, and more seriously, at risk in sexual situations.”
This innovative and sweeping package of bill's, joint authored by both Members, will, allocate increased money generated by changing the tax classification of Alcopops to the prevention of underage drinking, and require manufacturers to reform their marketing practices.