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Spring Break Alcohol Ads Removed
Panama City Beach Takes Booze Out of Spring Break Ads
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One popular Spring Break destination for U.S. college students has removed any mention of alcohol from its promotional and advertising material after it was criticized last year in a report from the American Medical Association.

The Panama City Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau again this year placed inserts in college newspapers around the country to promote the resort as a Spring Break destination, but missing from those inserts are any mention of bargains related to alcohol.

Instead, this year's inserts urge responsible drinking and offers safety tips for students partying on the Beach. The Bureau advises students: "If you came with a friend, leave with that friend. ... Call a cab. ... Refuse a drink of any kind from a stranger. ... Realize that drinking laws will be enforced."

"We hope that students take a minute to realize that their safety and fun depend on the decisions they make throughout spring break," Bob Warren, the tourist bureau's president and chief executive officer, told reporters.

"We're very pleased that communities are changing," said Richard Yoast, director of AMA's office of alcohol and drug abuse. "Our job was to bring attention to the problem."

Last year, the AMA issued a Spring Break Alert report that said "Spring break is no longer an innocent respite from the rigors of college academics, it’s potentially life threatening."

"The tourism and alcohol industries promote heavy drinking and sex, creating an environment that can lead to rape, fatal injuries and death by alcohol poisoning. We agree with parents that we must put an end to these promotions that target students, most of whom are underage," the 2002 news release said.

The report included results from the "Matter of Degree" poll, which indicated that a majority of parents (56 percent) were completely unaware that tour companies market spring break destinations directly to college students, emphasizing heavy drinking and sex.

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