For a Safe Holiday Season Remember to Say, “We Don’t Serve Teens”

FTC-led Campaign: Providing Alcohol to Teens is Unsafe, Illegal, Irresponsible.

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We Don’t Serve Teens,” the national campaign to reduce underage drinking developed by the Federal Trade Commission, is reminding parents and other concerned adults that underage alcohol use creates negative health, social, and economic consequences for adolescents, their families, and their communities. 

In 2008, almost 40,000 people between the ages of 15 and 20 were hospitalized with alcohol problems.  One quarter of them also had been assaulted, or injured in a traffic accident or fight.  The average length of stay was 5 days, at a cost of over $19,000 per stay.  Preventing underage alcohol use is a year-round priority – and it warrants special attention during the holiday season, when increased free time and celebrations increase the risk of teen drinking.     

“What many do not realize is that most teens who drink get the alcohol from older friends and family, or by taking it from a home without permission,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.  “So, reducing easy teen access to alcohol from social sources is critical.”    

The website has been updated in time for the holiday season.  It provides information in English and Spanish on the rates and risks of teen drinking, what to say to friends and neighbors about serving alcohol to teens, links to state laws, and tips on enlisting the support of organizations, the media, and others to fight underage alcohol use.  It features free downloadable materials, including posters and transit art, radio PSAs, and web banners and buttons. 

The “We Don’t Serve Teens” program has recognized by the National Prevention Council Commission and the U.S. House and Senate.  The FTC encourages national, state, and local organizations, both public and private, to take advantage of these materials and play a part in reducing teen alcohol use.

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 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.  The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.  Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

Contact Information


Betsy Lordan
Office of Public Affairs


Janet Evans
Bureau of Consumer Protection