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Advocates for preventing underage drinking are calling on the teen accessory store chain, Icing by Claire's, to stop selling girl-friendly flasks the Chicago Sun Times reported Jan. 23.
Flasks decorated with charms and designed to hold 5 ounces of liquor are available for $12.50, and one-shot keychain flasks with room for the individual's initials are available for $8.50 each.
The flasks show disclaimers that the product is not meant for minors, and warns that the flasks are designed to carry alcoholic beverages and should not be used for beverages with acidic contents like fruit juices.
Advocates are concerned that Icing by Claire's is encouraging underage drinking by selling flasks, while targeting its products to girls as young as 17. Icing by Claire's is a subsidiary of Claire's, Inc., which operates approximately 3,000 stores throughout the U.S. and Europe.
Recent studies show that girls are drinking earlier and increasing their alcohol intake. For example, the rate of 14-year-old girls using alcohol escalated from one in ten to almost one-third over the last 40 years. “In many cases, the girls are outdrinking the boys, putting themselves at greater risks,” said Janet Williams, co-chairman of the Illinois Coalition to Stop Underage Drinking, which wrote a letter to parent-company Claire's.
It appears that youth are gravitating towards hard liquor like rum and tequila in an effort to get drunk faster, according to Elizabeth Nelson, a community health specialist at the Lake County Health Department.
“Anything that promotes the perception that alcohol use is acceptable with young people is really disturbing,” Nelson said.
Oregon Partnership announced that Icing by Claire's said it will continue selling the flasks at its 3,000 stores, but will post signs at store counters supporting “responsible” alcohol consumption.