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Terry Goddard Asks for Federal Review of Alcohol Marketing

(Phoenix, Ariz. – May 16, 2006) Attorney General Terry Goddard today joined his counterparts in 19 other states in urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to take a hard look at the role alcohol marketing plays in promoting underage drinking.

“We are troubled that, despite asserted alcohol industry action to combat underage drinking, underage alcohol use has remained disturbingly high and relatively constant,” the 20 Attorneys General wrote to the FTC. “[F]ederal government studies report that youth are starting to use and abuse alcohol at an earlier age than ever before.”

The letter comes in response to an FTC request for comment about what information should be collected from advertisers regarding marketing expenditures and compliance with the alcohol industry’s self-imposed standards.

The Attorneys General recommended that the FTC collect updated data from alcohol advertisers, including information on expenditures and marketing practices. The Attorneys General urged the FTC to learn what steps the industry has taken to ensure compliance with industry standards in relation to these expenditures.

The alcohol industry currently operates under a series of voluntary standards, all of which require that advertising be placed only when 70 percent or more of the audience is 21 or older. The letter calls on the FTC to not only review industry compliance with the current advertising standards but also to examine whether current standards are adequate to protect against the overexposure of underage youth to alcohol advertisements.

The 20 Attorney Generals are members of the Youth Access to Alcohol Committee of the National Association of Attorneys General. This committee studies youth exposure to alcohol advertising and informs state Attorneys General on ways to change social norms about underage drinking. A copy of the letter sent to the FTC is attached.

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