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Budweiser and Malt Liquor More Popular Among People In The ER; Should They Be Regulated?

Submitted by on August 16, 2013 – 8:55 amNo Comment

It’s no surprise that lots of injured people in the ER have been drinking. But a new pilot study suggests that just a handful of brands are the drinks of choice for those drinkers who end up injured in the hospital. Though the sample size is too small to draw definitive conclusions, the authors seem intent on doing further research and affecting policy regarding the specific types of alcohol.

The study was conducted by researchers at The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (named after the same billionaire alumni and New York mayor who recently ran afoul of public opinion by trying to regulate soft drink size). It surveyed 105 patients in an East Baltimore emergency room “who admitted to drinking before their injury.”

The results did not necessarily correspond to larger trends of beverage sales. The study found that Budweiser was the no. 1 drink among the patients.

NBC News breaks down how the top “ER beers” relate to their regular market share:

Though Budweiser has 9.1 percent of the national beer market, it represented 15 percent of the of the E.R. “market.” The disparity was even more pronounced for Steel Reserve. It has only .8 percent of the market nationally, but accounted for 14.7 percent of the E.R. market. In all, Steel Reserve, Colt 45, Bud Ice, and another malt liquor, King Cobra, account for only 2.4 percent of the U.S. beer market, but accounted for 46 percent of the beer consumed by E.R. patients.

Coming from just one ER in one not-diverse neighborhood (East Balitmore is predominantly black), the results of this pilot study cannot necessarily be extrapolated to the wider population. But the authors call for more research across multiple cities and hospitals, but are clear that they see trends that could demand action:

Policy implications of this kind of research could include requirements for clear labeling of alcohol content on malt beverage containers, including serving size labeling; limits on malt liquor availability and marketing; and graduated taxation of beer based on alcohol
content to discourage consumption of higher-alcohol products.

What do you think? Should there be restrictions on the labeling, marketing, or sale of certain types of alcohol as compared to others?

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