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The Federal Trade Commission today launched the 2009 "We Don’t Serve Teens" public education campaign to help prevent teenagers from getting easy access to alcohol, and to promote compliance with the legal drinking age of 21.

In its annual effort to keep alcohol out of the hands of teens, the FTC and a coalition of public and private organizations will be distributing campaign materials in stores where alcohol is sold; offering public service announcements for TV and radio; and updating the campaign Web site, All materials are available in English and Spanish.

Data show that most kids who drink alcohol get it free from family or friends, often with disastrous results. About 5,000 people under 21 die each year from alcohol-related injuries, including auto accidents, homicides, and suicides, according to a U.S. Surgeon General’s report.

“Some friends and family may think underage drinking is harmless, but they’re wrong,” said David Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

“The evidence is clear,” he added. “Since laws nationwide established the legal drinking age of 21, teen drinking has dropped substantially. It’s a law that protects kids, so our message to adults is, ‘Don’t provide alcohol to teens. It’s unsafe, it’s illegal, it’s irresponsible.’ ”

The FTC’s Web site features information about the rates and risks of teen drinking, links to state alcohol laws, and things that people can do and say to prevent teens from drinking and getting injured as a result. The site also offers free materials that can be downloaded – including signs that say “The legal drinking age is 21. Thanks for not providing alcohol to teens.” Campaign participants are distributing the materials to businesses and other interested groups across the country.

Public- and private-sector organizations sponsoring the campaign include law enforcement agencies, consumer groups, and representatives of the alcohol and advertising industries.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,700 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.

(Don’t Serve Teens.wpd)

Contact Information

Betsy Lordan
Office of Public Affairs
Janet Evans
Bureau of Consumer Protection