New Government Data Reveals Teen Drinking Rates at Historic Low, Proves Effectiveness of Industry Self Regulation

Diageo calls for unified front in fighting underage drinking, as population-based control theories disproved once again

Dec 19, 2013, 17:27 ET from Diageo

NORWALK, Conn., Dec. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Diageo, the world's leading spirits, beer and wine company, commented on new data from the Monitoring the Future (MTF) study showing underage drinking is at its lowest level since the study's inception in 1975.  The highly respected annual study, conducted by the University of Michigan and funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, is widely considered the benchmark for substance abuse research among American high school students.

The study showed all alcohol consumption prevalence rates have decreased among 8th, 10th and 12th graders, continuing a more than 20-year downward trend in these statistics.  The University of Michigan press release noted, "The use of alcohol by teens has dropped dramatically over roughly the past two decades – particularly among the youngest teens – and continues to drop in 2013..."

"These figures showing underage drinking at historic lows are great news and evidence of what can be achieved when the alcohol industry, parents, teachers, law enforcement, and government policy makers work together for a common cause," said Jon Pageler, Senior Vice President, Diageo.  "The industry, through partnerships with government and communities, has been working tirelessly to fight underage drinking, and these findings are proof that industry efforts and self-regulation are working." 

Specific findings from the study related to declines in underage drinking include:

  • Lifetime, annual and past-month consumption rates among youth in all three grade levels (8th, 10th, 12th) are at an historic low.
  • More than seven out of ten 8th graders report they have never consumed alcohol, down 60% from 70% in 1991 to 28% in 2013.
  • Past 30-day consumption declined at a statistically significant rate among 12th graders from 2012 to 2013.
  • Statistically significant decreases were observed from 2012 to 2013 among the number of 10th graders who report they have been drunk in the past month and have engaged in binge drinking (5 or more drinks in a row in the last two weeks).
  • Students report an increase in their disapproval of binge drinking among peers and a decrease in the availability of alcohol.

In addition to strict adherence to the company's global marketing code focused on responsible advertising and promotion, Diageo is a founding member of the Century Council and supports its award-winning programs to reduce underage drinking, such as Ask Listen Learn, Girl Talk, and Cops in Shops.  

"While this new data is encouraging, Diageo has a zero tolerance policy toward underage drinking, and work remains to be done," continued Pageler. "It is critical that those of us fighting underage drinking focus on what is proven to work, and are not distracted by misguided advocacy groups who endorse ineffective population-based controls.  Specifically, we ask that government funds currently being spent to bolster the flawed theory of controls, such as reduced market access for adults, excessive taxation, and advertising bans, are instead directed towards programming with proven real-world impact."

About Diageo
Diageo (Dee-AH-Gee-O) is the world's leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, beer and wine. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, J&B, Windsor, Buchanan's and Bushmills whiskies, Smirnoff, Ciroc and Ketel One vodkas, Baileys, Captain Morgan, Tanqueray, Guinness, Beaulieu Vineyard and Sterling Vineyards Wines.

Diageo is a global company, with its products sold in more than 180 countries around the world. The company is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE). For more information about Diageo, its people, brands, and performance, visit us at For our global resource that promotes responsible drinking through the sharing of best practice tools, information and initiatives, visit

Celebrating life, every day, everywhere.