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BMA Conference Tuesday, 2 July, 2002, 10:37 GMT 11:37 UK
Doctors back alcohol shots warning
Doctors fear the drinks are targeted at teenagers
Doctors have called for warnings to be placed on so-called alcohol "shot drinks".

Representatives at the British Medical Association's annual conference in Harrogate heard that the drinks were potentially dangerous and were encouraging young people to drink too much.

They backed a motion calling for warning labels to be placed on the drinks warning of their high alcohol content.


Someone can drink half a dozen of these drinks before the first one kicks in. That's the problem

Dr Steve Hajiof
Pre-packaged shot drinks have become increasingly popular over the past year.

They include fruit-flavoured vodka drinks and are designed to be drunk as "chasers" with or after spirits.

Teenage market

However, doctors criticised the drinks saying their colourful packaging and fruity flavours were designed to encourage teenage drinking.

Dr Steve Hajioff, a public health doctor in London, said it was unrealistic to expect the drinks to be withdrawn.

However, he said there should be some sort of health warning about the alcohol strength of the drinks.

He said: "Someone can drink half a dozen of these drinks before the first one kicks in. That's the problem.

"They are not marketed directly at teenagers, but the fact that they are flavoured with fruit and vanilla does suggest, like alcopops, that they are trying to wean young people from fizzy pop towards something that doesn't taste any stronger."

Dr Clare Jenkins, a civil service doctor, said she agreed that shot drinks were potent but if young people were going to drink alcohol, they could be the safest option.

"Some young people prefer these drinks with tops on because their so-called friends would put drugs into open glasses," she said.

"These drinks could be safer for them in a club scenario."

Doctors at the BMA conference have also called for a "rational debate" on the use of recreational drugs.

Dr Ann Hunningher from Islington, north London, said: "Such a debate is long overdue. The public is confused and common sense tells us different drugs have different effects.

"The current drugs policy has been a resounding failure."

Professor Mike Kelly, Director of Research and Information at the Health Development Agency said: "Dr Hajioff's comments are echoed by research which also finds that information about the number of units in a given measure of a particular drink at the point of sale and on alcohol products is an important element in safe and sensible drinking strategies."

Full coverage of the BMA conference 2002

Day Three

Day Two

Day one

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See also:

13 Dec 01 | Health
17 May 01 | Health
10 Dec 01 | Health
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