WHAT'S NEW -- CSPI PRESS RELEASES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 23, 1996
Contact: Roger Williams 202/ 332-9110, ext. 370 or
George Hacker, ext. 343
WHY NOT SILENCE THE BUD FROGS, TOO?
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) applauds President
Clinton's new restrictions on the promotion of underage smoking but
wonders why his Administration has failed to take similar regulatory action
against alcoholic-beverage marketers who also prey on underage persons. If
Joe Camel can be fenced off from the young, why can't the Bud Frogs be
corralled in an adults-only pond? If the FDA can regulate nicotine as an
addictive drug, why not alcohol?
Alcohol, notes CSPI, the nation's premier advocacy group on nutrition and
health issues, is a factor in all the leading causes of death -- car crashes,
homicides, suicides -- for youth aged 15 to 24. According to the 1995 National
Household Survey on Drug Abuse released earlier this week, almost the same
percentage of 12- to 17-year-olds report drinking during the past month as
report smoking. A third of those drinkers report binge drinking (five or more
drinks) on at least one occasion during the month.
Each year, alcohol is associated with more than 100,000 deaths and some $100
billion in economic damage to the nation. In addition, it is routinely involved
in such domestic disturbances as spousal and child abuse and family
break-ups. Some 18 million Americans, including 4.5 million under the age of
18, are addicted to alcohol or have serious problems resulting from its use.
On college campuses, student drinking is the number-one problem, resulting
in injury, vandalism, assaults, date rape, the spread of sexually transmitted
diseases, unplanned pregnancies, and academic failure.
Since 1981, CSPI's Alcohol Policies Project has conducted a sustained
campaign to reduce the promotion of alcoholic beverages, as well as their
availability, among young men and women below the legal drinking age. The
Center recently called on the Clinton Administration to support
comprehensive legislation introduced last spring by Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy
II (D-MA) to restrict alcohol advertising on radio and television as well as
youth-oriented alcohol sponsorships and promotions.
"In terms of a clear and present danger to America's youth, alcohol wins
hands down over tobacco, which kills years later in life," says George Hacker,
director of the Alcohol Policies Project. "If the latter is a menace -- and it is --
then so is the former. If it's immoral to market cigarettes to children, as the
President says in his new book, it's just as immoral for Anheuser-Busch -- a
large contributor to the Democratic and Republican parties -- to use frogs
and other cute animals and massive sports promotions to attract kids to its
beer products. We must eliminate this double standard."
In a full-page ad in the August 2 New York Times, CSPI urged readers to call
Seagram CEO Joseph Bronfman Jr. to protest his company's television liquor
ads, which broke a 48-year voluntary industry ban on such ads. President
Clinton, in a June 15 radio address agreed, noting that the voluntary ban was
"the right thing to do." We call on the President to demand that beer and
wine marketers also stop targeting young people -- on television and in
countless youth-oriented promotions. We ask parents and concerned citizens
to share their views with the President, candidates for legislative office, and
For more on the Budweiser frogs, click there.
# # #
Since 1981, CSPI's Alcohol Policies Project has promoted public and private policies to
reduce the societal toll of alcohol problems. It led the successful effort to require health
warnings on containers and campaigned for two rounds of increases in federal taxes on liquor,
and one on beer and wine. Its groundbreaking publications, The Booze Merchants and
Marketing Booze to Blacks helped launch the national movement to reform the advertising and
promotion of alcoholic beverages.
CSPI is a nonprofit, health-advocacy organization based in Washington, DC. Founded in 1971,
it is well known for its nutrition studies of restaurant food and for obtaining the "Nutrition
Facts" panel on packaged foods. CSPI accepts no industry or government funding. It is
supported largely by the 750,000 subscribers to its Nutrition Action Newsletter.