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Under-age drinkers favour the cheapest and strongest booze, says survey


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Under-age drinkers are heavily influenced by both the price of alcohol and how heavily it is promoted, a survey has found.

The survey, carried out by Alcohol Concern, asked under-age children being treated for alcohol problems about the brands that they drink. It found that the top five brands were exactly the same as in 2012, albeit in a different order. The brands also seem to be those that are either the cheapest and strongest or that which is heavily promoted.

Fosters beer topped the survey, and its popularity is thought to stem from its extensive advertising aimed at young adults, which is apparently having a knock on effect on under-age drinkers. A Welsh research team recently found that 10-11 year olds were more familiar with Brad and Dan, the Australian friends that appear in the company’s adverts, than characters used to promote leading chocolate and crisps brands.

The other four brands, all in the top five in 2012, were own brand vodka, Smirnoff vodka, Frosty Jack’s cider and Glen’s vodka. Between them, these are some of the cheapest brands of alcohol per unit; Frosty Jack’s cider costs only 22p per unit, and own brand vodka is generally around 30p per unit.

The survey seems to provide additional evidence that both the advertising of big brands of alcohol and cheap strong brands are having adverse effects on under-age drinkers that are particularly susceptible. Alcohol Concern is hoping the survey will add weight to the argument for the Government to introduce a minimum cost per unit for all alcohol.

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