The Use of Regulatory Power by U.S. State and Local Alcohol Control Agencies to Ban Problematic Products

Elyse R. Grossman, Jane Binakonsky, David Jernigan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Alcohol is responsible for 4,300 deaths a year in the U.S. among persons under 21. Alcohol companies innovate rapidly and produce new products, some of which prove popular among young people. The 18 “control jurisdictions” in the U.S.–those that exercise monopoly control over some aspect of alcohol distribution–have the ability to govern which products become available within their borders and have, at times, exercised that authority to block particular products from sale. Objectives: This paper is an exploratory study examining how states use regulatory authority in control jurisdictions to restrict the sale of new alcohol products within their borders, and the reasoning used to justify those decisions. Methods: The authors, collaborating with the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association, surveyed control state officials regarding procedures and policies governing the sale of new products in their jurisdictions. Results: Control jurisdictions have banned/restricted different products (e.g., grain alcohol and alcoholic energy drinks) for a variety of reasons (e.g., flavorings/packaging appealing to underage drinkers, blurring of distinctions between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and judgment that the product was not socially responsible). Conclusions/ Importance: Although U.S. control jurisdictions universally have the authority to limit access to problematic alcohol products; they vary in the degree to which they use it. These states need to take action, and as of now, there is no systematic reasoning behind when and how states make decisions to ban/restrict these products. Greater exploration of regulatory authority in this arena could be protective of public health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1229-1238
Number of pages10
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jul 3 2018


  • Alcohol control jurisdictions
  • grain alcohol
  • public health
  • regulatory power

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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