New Legislation Targets Binge Drinking Among StudentsThe District of Columbia’s representative in Congress has introduced legislation to address binge drinking among college-age youth, proposing higher taxes on alcohol.
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., cites new studies on binge drinking in proposing the Alcohol Tax Equalization Act, which would tax alcohol based on its liquor content. In effect, the plan would raise taxes on beer and wine to rates similar to those on hard liquor.
“If a can of beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, a wine cooler and a shot of vodka have the same alcohol content, why are they not taxed equally?” she asks. High school and underage college students consume more than 1 billion beers each year, she said, and by having lower taxes on beer and wine “we bring the price down and encourage teens to make these the drinks of choice.”
Her legislation comes on the heels of several studies showing that large percentages of college students are binge drinkers, meaning that they will consume at least five drinks consecutively over a short period. She also cited a new National Institutes of Health study that found 1,400 college students per year suffer injuries that are alcohol related. These injuries include campus incidents as well as motor vehicle crashes.
“Alcohol abuse is the leading cause of death among teens and young adults,” she says. “It is time for the taxes on beer and wine to reflect their alcohol content.” Under her bill, proceeds from the new taxes would create a federal substance abuse trust fund for alcohol prevention programs.
For more information, contact Norton’s office at (202) 225-8050.
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