Health Canada moves on new regulations to restrict sugary alcoholic drinks
Published Tuesday, December 18, 2018 9:44PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 19, 2018 7:35PM EST
Health Canada is taking measures to cut down on the amount of alcohol in some sugary premixed drinks – but advocates say the new rules don't go far enough.
The new regulations come following the death of 14-year-old Laval girl Athena Gervais in March, which sparked a discussion on teen drinking.
There is currently the same alcohol content of about four standard drinks in just one can of the sugary premixed drinks in question.
Health Canada is proposing to lower that limit, to the equivalent of one and a half alcoholic beverages.
Educ'alcool, a lobby group that promotes responsible drinking, says it should be one can, one drink.
The beverages in question are brands like F*cked up, Four Loko, and Mojo.
The high sugar content in these drinks masks the taste of the alcohol, one of the reasons they can be so dangerous.
Health Canada said less alcohol in the drinks will protect people from overconsuming.
Educ'alcool, however, says the cans are also marketed towards young drinkers, with bright, flashy colours, and they want that to change.
In Quebec, any drink that has 12 per cent alcohol or higher needs to be sold at the SAQ, but at 11.9 per cent, these drinks can be sold at depanneurs and grocery stores.
As long as cans like these are on the shelves, there will be more stories about dangerous drinking, said Hubert Sacy from Educ'alcool.
“This means that you could at any time have another story like Athena Gervais. We don’t deny that it’s better to limit to 1.5, rather than four, as it is the case now. But it’s a very small step, and it’s insufficient and disappointing because we can do better,” he said.
Health Canada is soliciting feedback until Feb. 5, 2019.