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Survey: Most San Diego Stores Sell Fruit-Flavored Liquor And Tobacco Products

Flavored alcohol products like these are available in most San Diego stores.

Aired 3/6/14 on KPBS News.

A new survey reveals the vast majority of San Diego stores sell tobacco and alcohol in kid-friendly flavors like cotton candy. Public health advocates are crying foul.

The American Heart Association and Lung Association surveyed nearly 300 stores in San Diego County.

They found almost 9 out of 10 retailers sell mini-bottles of alcohol in fruity flavors like peach and watermelon. Most stores also sell flavored tobacco products, with nearly 4 out of 10 retailers placing them near the candy.

Lily Sioux, 18, surveyed 33 stores herself. She said kids like the sweeter flavors.

“We’re drawn to bubble gum, cherry, lime, citrus," she said. "You see those within your alcohol selections or your tobacco selections. It makes it a little more tasty and a little more exciting.”

The survey shows 39 percent of San Diego teens used alcohol within the last month. Binge drinking among San Diego 11th graders increased by 16 percent between 2009 and 2011, according to the nonprofit group Communities Against Substance Abuse.

Retailers maintain they don’t sell alcohol to minors.

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