Friday, January 18, 2013

It’s Only Beer...

Burger King was one of the first fast food chains to add beer to its menu when it opened up three “WhopperBars” in 2009. Starbucks followed suit and added beer and wine to their menus in Washington and Oregon in 2010 and now has plans to add alcohol to menus in three other states. Sonic is joining in with plans to offer beer and wine in two locations to their customers who dine on the patio or inside the restaurant.

 In a time when coalitions and groups are fighting alcohol ads in venues such as the Super Bowl and fighting against alcohol being advertised to youth; when the message that needs to be spread should be that alcohol is not needed to enjoy a night out, the restaurant industry, by stating they need to sell alcohol to draw the under 30 crowd, is declaring the opposite.

Youth are being inundated with alcohol ads through television, radio, on-line sites, and print media. From alcopops making news headlines, to Facebook advertising, it’s hard for our youth not to hear about alcohol. Our society has moved from “having a drink with dinner” or “a beer with friends” to a “how much alcohol can be consumed in an hour” mentality. Unfortunately, some adults still think “it’s only beer”. Now more than ever, we need to be aware of underage drinking and how we can prevent it.

Studies have shown that parents are a huge influence on their teen’s behavior. James C. Fell, a public health researcher at the Pacific Institute for Research & Evaluation, responded to questions on about why the legal age should remain 21. One of his statements was that “when teens feel they have their parents’ approval to drink, they do it more and more often when they are not with their parents. When parents have concrete, enforced rules about alcohol, young people binge drink less”. See the full conversation at

By Tina Stevens

About the author: Tina Stevens is a Prevention Secretary with Preferred Family Healthcare. Tina attends fairs and events to distribute information about ATOD (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs) to bring awareness to communities.

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