Last month state Senator Jeff Klein introduced legislation to "shift the point of sale for high alcohol flavored malt beverages from grocery and convenience stores to liquor stores" in an effort to keep drinks like Four Loko out of the hands of underage drinkers. It was a smart idea, and now city Health Commissioner Thomas Farley is on board. In fact, he wants to take the ban one step further, moving the sale of even low-alcohol alcopops to liquor stores. Thank God icing is over, otherwise this could be a real problem!

Farley told a Senate panel (testimony below) that the legislation "makes a great deal of sense," but as is the bill wouldn't do enough. "Some of the products that are most popular among underage drinkers have lower alcohol contents," he said. "They still target children, and can be just as harmful as drinks with slightly more alcohol." The bill would move beverages with over "6 percent alcohol and over 1 percent sugar and have added flavors or other ingredients" to liquor store shelves, leaving lower alcohol beverages like Mike's Hard Lemonade and Smirnoff Ice (both five percent ABV) to be sold in bodegas. Farley suggested modifying the bill so that all flavored malt beverages are kept out of delis.

Farley noted, "Two out of five adolescents who begin drinking before the age of 15 will become dependent on alcohol in their lifetimes," and that teenagers are far more likely to turn to alcopops than beer or hard liquor to get their binge on. So the added bonus of moving alcopops to liquor stores is that if teens want to drink, they'll have to buy beer and learn how to drink like a man.

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