In the old days teenagers might have tried to sneak a beer or two as their rebellious drink of choice. Today’s teenagers (and even pre-teens) have a lot more options to choose from, including alcopops, which are flavored alcoholic beverages typically incorporating various fruit juices. Though they’re only supposed to be for people of legal drinking age, they’re quite popular with underage youths who are attracted to their packaging, marketing and taste. Alcopops are generally 3-7% alcohol by volume, and unfortunately a major study found that 50% of youth drinkers between the ages of 13 and 20 drink them.

Alcopops include Mike’s Hard Beverages, Smirnoff Malt Beverages, Bacardi Malt Beverages, Jack Daniel’s Cocktails, and Four Loko. When youth drinkers consume these drinks they tend to engage in binge drinking, get into fights, sustain injuries from being drunk, get into car crashes, and have casual, unprotected sex leading to unplanned pregnancies and/or sexually transmitted diseases. Like any alcohol consumption, there are negative consequences when people of any age drink too much too quickly.

Alcopops tend to be sold in cans or bottles up to 25 ounces. They’re chilled, carbonated, and ready-to-drink, and drinkers often feel compelled to finish the whole thing in one sitting simply because they don’t want to waste any…and it tastes sweet and good to them.

Young people would best be advised to avoid alcopops, which have earned the nicknames “binge-in-a-can” and “blackout-in-a-can.” Avoiding alcopops at a young age is a smart and healthy lifestyle choice.