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American Teens Prefer Liquor to Beer or Wine

Posted: Wednesday, 09 March 2011 10:04

American Teens Prefer Liquor to Beer or Wine

Americans may be close to being  the biggest wine consuming nation, but their teenagers prefer liquor to beer and don’t find wine even on their radar, perhaps due to the lack of advertising as one of the reasons, points a new study which also attributes high-risk behavior like binge drinking, drunk driving, smoking tobacco or marijuana and having multiple sexual partners to this norm

Nearly half of American teen drinkers out of a database of 7,723 surveyed between the ages of 12-18 said they preferred a shot of liquor than a bottle of beer, with wine barely registering on the radar. Teens that prefer liquor are much more likely to indulge in high risk behaviour, researchers also found.

Study conducted in 8 states found that boys were more likely to prefer liquor and beer than girls, and that teens “graduate” to liquor and beer from malt beverages such as Smirnoff Ice, Bacardi Silver or Hard Lemonade and wine coolers as they get older, cites the report in the Health Behavior News Service.

Part of the reason is a skew in the advertising trends. “The number of liquor advertisements on TV has increased dramatically,” said lead study author, Michael Siegel, M.D., of the Boston University School of Public Health. “So it’s not surprising that liquor has become very popular among underage drinkers and surpasses beer as the alcoholic beverage of choice.”

The study appears online and in the April 2011 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. “The study results suggest that youth might initiate drinking with sweeter, more-flavored alcoholic beverages like malt beverages and wine coolers, and that they progress toward harder alcoholic drinks, like beer and hard liquor — and the high-risk behavior,” he said.

A solution could lie in the way alcohol is marketed to teens. Wine is not advertised heavily in teen-oriented media and does not appear to be part of their partying and drinking scene, all factors that might contribute to its lack of popularity. Siegel said that restricting advertising for malt beverages and wine coolers in youth-oriented media could have a dramatic effect on overall youth drinking.

Although there are no comparable studies in India but the results could be very similar though the drinking age might be slightly higher. A recent study had indicated that teenagers start drinking wines in early teens though the sample might not have been properly selected. However, wine is a distant third in India as well with the youngsters preferring the white liquors vodka and baccardi to even whisky.


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