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Surgeon General asks brewers to lay low during spring break; Institute recognized.

Surgeon General asks brewers to lay low during Spring Break; Institute recognized

In a recent letter to the Beer Institute, Surgeon General Dr. Antonia Novello recognized the beer industry's on-going efforts to combat alcohol abuse. In the same letter, however, Novello asked brewers not to promote their products during Spring Break, citing large increases in sexually transmitted diseases among teens.

"I am alarmed about the dramatic escalation of sexually transmitted diseases in adolescents, including AIDS, and there is no question that alcohol's lowering of inhibitions can contribute to risky sexual behavior," Novello's letter said. "I am convinced that sponsorship [by the beer industry] of such promotional gimmicks encourages underage and excessive drinking."

Spring Break "used to be where the boys are," Novello continued. "Now it's where the booze is."

Instead of pointing to the inaccuracy of linking alcohol with sexually tranmitted diseases, the Beer Institute chose to highlight the positive aspects of the Surgeon General's statements, praising Novello's letter and last week's press conference statement as "a big change in attitude."

"In the letter [to the Beer Institute], I asked the that beer manufacturers take a more responsible posture with regard to their marketing tactics during Spring Break," Novello said during her statement. "The Beer Institute has responded favorably to that letter... and I must say that I am encouraged by that response. I am hopeful the industry will continue in the right direction."

"Admittedly, there were some shots taken at our industry," explained the Beer Institute's vice president of public relations Lon Anderson. "But, for the most part, [the Surgeon General's] statement took the high road--she couldn't have been much more positive, and we wanted that recognition.

"Public praise from the Surgeon General is unheard of," Anderson continued, "and that's why we sent such a positive release. We're finally getting the recognition from the government that we haven't gotten before."

The Beer Institute's president, James Sanders concurred. "I hope this marks a new period of cooperation between our industry and the Surgeon General."
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Title Annotation:Beer Institute; Antonia Novello
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Mar 11, 1991
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