The impact of alcopops on adolescent drinking: a literature review.Alcohol Alcohol 2008 Mar-Apr; 43(2):230-9AA
The growing consumption of alcopops (highly sweetened pre-mixed spirit-based drinks especially designed and marketed for adolescents and young adults) among adolescents below the minimum age has given rise to the suspicion that these designer drinks are conducive to encouraging young people to prematurely drink alcohol. Increasing concern with regard to the health of young people has prompted several countries to respond to the growing consumption of alcopops with the introduction of special taxes. The present review aims to analyse the relationship between alcopop consumption and expected negative consequences, in particular, with regard to the frequency and quantity of alcohol consumed, the number of negative alcohol-related consequences, the consumption of other drugs, and engagement in further risk behaviours.
Systematic computer-assisted literature searches in Pub Med, PsycINFO, and Addiction Abstracts used the keywords 'alcopop', 'alcopops', 'designer drink', or 'designer drinks'. All publications relating to alcopops and their impact on adolescent drinking were included.
An analysis of existing studies shows that on the grounds of methodological limitations, such as not controlling for total alcohol consumption, evidence of an association between the consumption of alcopops and the effects mentioned above is scarce. Results rather indicate a clear relationship between the quantity of alcohol consumed and alcohol-related negative consequences.
In place of beverage-specific interventions, a successful alcohol policy should look to implement evidence-based measures for the reduction of total alcohol consumption.