Sample Letter Requesting a
Meeting With Your Legislators
The Honorable [Name]
On behalf of [coalition name/a group of organizations in our district/state concerned with underage and abusive drinking], I would like to arrange a meeting with you during the July 1-5 Congressional recess to discuss our concerns about the negative effects of alcohol advertising on television.
Despite NBC’s welcome decision not to begin airing hard liquor ads, a new crop of liquor-branded "alcopops" – sweetened youth-oriented malt-beverages such as Smirnoff Ice, Bacardi Silver, and Skyy Blue – are effectively still promoting liquor brands to large audiences of young people on network television. Producers plan to spend more than $350 million on such commercials this year.
NBC’s action on hard liquor ads highlighted the need for tougher standards on all televised alcohol advertising to reduce youth exposure to commercials that glamorize and promote drinking in the powerful broadcast media. The present weak voluntary standards for beer ads – which also apply to the new crop of liquor-branded "alcopops" such as Smirnoff Ice and Bacardi Silver – allow HALF the audience to be underage!
Underage drinking and its harms are widespread. On average, young people begin drinking at 13.1 years of age. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, those who begin by age 15 are four times as likely to become alcohol dependent than those who wait until age 21. Alcohol is a factor in the four leading causes of death among persons ages 10 to 24: motor-vehicle crashes, unintentional injuries, homicide, and suicide. Underage drinking costs Americans some $53 billion annually.
We believe that at the very least Congress should be taking a serious look at this issue, and exploring possible remedies to better protect young people and other vulnerable populations from a steady onslaught of televised inducements to drink.
I will follow up with your scheduler to inquire about arranging a meeting with you to discuss this serious issue and what can be done about it. Should you need further information, I can be reached at (xxx-xxxx). Thank you in advance for your consideration of our request. We look forward to meeting with you. With best regards.
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