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The Wall Street Journal reports that attorneys general from 28 states, Guam and the District of Columbia are urging the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to crack down on manufacturers of energy drinks that contain alcohol and caffeine, saying that the beverages are being targeted inappropriately at young people for whom they can pose health and safety risks.

According to Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, the main sin being committed by the manufacturers – which include companies such SABMiller and Anheuser-Busch – is that they are suggesting that the drinks are healthy. "Combining alcohol with caffeine hardly seems healthy -- and that false claim is what we seek to halt," Blumenthal tells the Journal.

"Nonalcoholic energy drinks are very popular with today's youth," Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers adds. "Beverage companies are unconscionably appealing to young drinkers with claims about the stimulating properties of alcoholic energy drinks."

The companies being targeted by the states say that their labeling, claims and products have been approved by regulators, and that they are careful to meet all federal guidelines.

In addition, the journal reports, “The attorneys general also requested a federal investigation into the makeup of alcoholic energy drinks and other flavored malt beverages to determine whether, based on the percentage of distilled spirits contained in the drinks, they are properly classified as malt beverages under federal law. The malt beverage classification, in many states, enables cheaper and broader sale of these drinks, making them more readily available to young people than distilled spirits.”
KC's View:
I’ve said here before that I think that energy drinks are a disaster waiting to happen – that it just seems inevitable that some sort of health problem related to their over-consumption by young people is going to end up in the news. The companies may be staying within the letter of the law, but it may not matter in terms of public perception.

Every once in a while, I see my older kids drinking this stuff, and it just makes me nervous. I don’t know how many other parents feel the same way, but there it is.