Alcohol & Tobacco

Alcohol

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug among youth in the United States and excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage youth each year. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention reports that people aged 12 to 20 years drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States and more than 90% of this alcohol is consumed by binge drinking.

Binge drinking is usually defined as 4 or 5 drinks within two hours. Overconsumption of alcohol, including binge drinking, has a significant economic impact from costs associated with health care, crime and loss in workplace productivity. Research published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine said in 2010, these costs were $249 billion and binge drinking was responsible for 77% of those costs.

Tobacco

According to the CDC, from 2011 to 2015, current cigarette smoking declined among middle and high school students but current use of electronic cigarettes increased. Electronic cigarettes, also called “e-cigarettes,” are battery-operated devices that contain cartridges filled with nicotine, flavor and other chemicals. The electronic cigarette turns the liquid cartridge into a vapor that is inhaled by the user.

Until recently e-cigarettes were not regulated and could be sold to anyone. New federal regulations ban the sale to those under 18 but this has not stopped the proliferation of “vape shops” in community shopping plazas and mall kiosks. Like other tobacco products, there are no regulations on flavored products that are appealing to youth such as candy or alcoholic beverage flavors. There are also no bans on advertising and marketing these products.