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Substance Abuse and Addiction Health Center

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Liquor Top Choice Among Teen Drinkers

Preference May Be Due to Liquor's High Ethanol Content, Notes Small CDC Study
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

July 26, 2007 -- Teen drinkers usually drink liquor, according to a CDC study of alcohol use by teens in four states.

The CDC reviewed teen drinking statistics from a 2005 survey of some 13,500 teens in grades 9-12 in Arkansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Wyoming.

At school, the teens completed surveys about risky health behaviors including alcohol use.

About 43% of the students reported having had at least one alcoholic drink within the past month.

The survey asked teen drinkers what type of alcohol they usually drank, or whether they had no preference. Liquor (bourbon, rum, scotch, vodka, and whiskey) led the list in each of the four states.

The percentage of teen drinkers who said they favored liquor included nearly 45% of teen drinkers in Arkansas, about 34% in Nebraska, almost 36% in New Mexico, and about 40% in Wyoming.

Beer or malt beverages ranked second. Very few teen drinkers -- about 3% or less -- said they favored wine.

Why did teen drinkers favor liquor? The study doesn't show that. But it may because of liquor's high ethanol content and possible concealment in other beverages, such as soft drinks, notes the CDC.

The findings, published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, may not reflect teen alcohol use nationwide.

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