Washington bans caffeinated alcohol drinks

Nov. 11, 2010 at 6:28 PM

OLYMPIA, Wash., Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Starting next week, the sale of canned beverages that combine alcohol and caffeine will be illegal in Washington state.

The state Liquor Control Board adopted a 120-day ban Wednesday, the Seattle Times reported. While the ban, which takes effect Nov. 18, is in place, the agency will work out permanent regulation of the drinks.

In October, nine Central Washington University students were hospitalized with alcohol poisoning after drinking Four Loko at a party. Four Loko is a malt liquor with caffeine added.

At a news conference Wednesday, Gov. Christine Gregoire called the drinks a "blackout in a can," Seattlepi.com reported. She said they are about 12 percent alcohol, double the level found in beer, with caffeine providing an added zing and usually, as with Four Loko, fruit or other flavorings that mask the alcohol content and make the drinks appealing to teenagers and young adults.

"In my experience, it's no different than the kind of appeal Joe Camel had to our kids when it came to cigarettes," Gregoire said, referring to Camel cigarettes' former mascot.

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