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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU, John Hopkins: Youth Binge Drinking Concentrated Among Small Number of Brands

Youths who binge drink are often choosing spirits (or “hard alcohol”) — particularly vodka — and their binge drinking is concentrated among a relatively small number of brands, according to a new study by researchers with the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) and the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The study, published in the Journal of Substance Use, is the first to document alcohol brands used for binge drinking – defined as five or more drinks in a row for males, or four or more drinks in a row for females — by underage youths, ages 13-20.

The researchers found that underage youths were more likely to report having consumed spirits than beer in recent binge-drinking episodes. Spirits accounted for 43.8 percent of binge episodes, while beer accounted for less than one-third of episodes. Within spirits, vodka accounted for the most binge reports: 11.7 percent of all binge reports, and 26.7 percent of all binge reports among spirits brands.

Among youths, the brands most likely to be used for binge drinking were: Bud Light (13.5 percent of all youth), Jack Daniel’s bourbons (7 percent), Smirnoff malt beverages (6.8 percent), Budweiser (6.5 percent), Coors Light (6.1 percent), and Smirnoff vodkas (5.6 percent).

“Binge drinking accounts for most of the alcohol consumed by youth in the U.S., and is associated with a host of negative consequences, including drunk driving, sexual assaults and suicide,” said lead study author Dr. Timothy Naimi, an associate professor at the Boston University Schools of Public Health and Medicine.

“Identifying the types of alcohol and specific brands youth are choosing when they binge drink is important for the development of public health interventions designed to curtail this dangerous public health problem.”

To read more about the study, visit: