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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

George Mason: Low-priced Alcopops Pose High Risk Especially for Youth, New Study Recommends Regulation

Supersized alcopops are ready-to-drink flavored alcoholic beverages with high alcohol content. Just one can is binge drinking, and multiple can lead to alcohol poisoning and death. A new study led by George Mason University College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) found that Four Loko is among the cheapest ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages in the United States. Lower prices have been linked to higher consumption and related harms, particularly in youth.

CHHS assistant professor Dr. Matthew Rossheim led the study that examined Four Loko’s retail price in large U.S. cities. CHHS students Ms. Kayla McDonald, Ms. Reema Ahmad, and Sieka Siklo were co-authors. It was published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

“It is unsafe to consume a single can of Four Loko in one sitting,” cautions Dr. Rossheim. “Regulatory agencies should reduce the availability and alcohol-by-volume of these products and increase their retail price in order to reduce and prevent unsafe alcohol consumption.”

The researchers also recommend an investigation from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to see if these products meet the federal definition for beer or manufacturers are evading federal and state taxes.

This study collected data on Four Loko availability, volume, abv, price for one can, and discounts for buying more than one can from a random sample of stores in the largest city of each state and in Washington, DC.

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