Ann Arbor: 90% of adults concerned about misuse of powdered alcohol among underage youth; more than three quarters support banning online sales. After this year’s legalization of powdered alcohol, some states have already banned it – a move that the majority of the public supports, according to a new University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health. Adults across the country share the same top concern about the new alcohol-on-the-go product: potential misuse among underage youth.
Packaged in travel-friendly pouches, powdered alcohol will be
available in flavors of distilled spirits like vodka and rum and also
mixed drinks. One packet of powdered alcohol mixed with six ounces of
liquid creates an instant cocktail.
Sixty percent of U.S. adults in the nationally-representative Mott
poll favor a complete ban of powdered alcohol in their states, while
another 84 percent support prohibiting online sales of the product. In
addition, 85 percent of adults agree that marketing for powdered alcohol
should be restricted from social networking sites that make it easy to
reach younger crowds.
“The product’s makers tout powdered alcohol as improving convenience
for people who enjoy the outdoors and others who want to travel light
with alcoholic beverages,” says Matthew M. Davis, M.D., M.A.P.P.,
director of the National Poll on Children’s Health and professor of
pediatrics and internal medicine in the Child Health Evaluation and
Research Unit at the U-M Medical School.
“Given that several states are considering legislation about powdered
alcohol, our poll looked at what the public thinks about this new
product. The majority of adults agree that powdered alcohol may spell
trouble for young people.”
About a third of adults had heard about powdered alcohol when the
poll was conducted in May 2015 and all participants received pro and con
information regarding the product before they answered questions about
it. Adults shared particular concerns over the product:
• 90 percent of adults are concerned that powdered alcohol will be misused by people under 21
• 85 percent are concerned that powdered alcohol will increase use of alcohol for people under 21
• 81 percent are concerned that it will be easy for people under 21 to buy powdered alcohol.
The product is set to launch this summer but some states, including
Louisiana, South Carolina and Vermont, have already banned it. In
Michigan, State Senator Rick Jones has introduced legislation
that would prohibit sale and use of powdered alcohol in the state. The
bill passed the Senate unanimously and a corresponding bill in the
Michigan House is being considered by the Committee on Regulatory
The high levels of public concern about misuse of powdered alcohol by
youth echo previous findings that adults view alcohol abuse as one of
the 10 biggest child health problems in the U.S. today.
“In the U.S., parents, communities, and healthcare providers already
face serious challenges with underage alcohol abuse and its harmful
effects on children’s health. This poll indicates common concern among
our communities over potential abuse and misuse of powdered alcohol as
well as the product’s potential to exacerbate the problem of underage
drinking,” says Davis, who is also with the U-M Gerald R. Ford School of
Public Policy and School of Public Health and deputy director for U-M’s
Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.
“Concerns of the public are important to understand as lawmakers
across the country consider legislation to restrict or ban the use of
powdered alcohol in their states.”