Australian officials unexpectedly hiked the tax on pre-mixed alcoholic drinks on Sunday, as new research revealed that teenage girls were consuming them at unprecedented levels.
Health Minister Nicola Roxon said the tax on the so-called alcopops -- bottled or canned fizzy drinks mixed with mostly with rum or vodka -- had been increased by 70 percent from midnight Saturday.
Depending on the amount of alcohol in the drink, the cost would increase by up to 1.30 dollars (1.20 US), she said.
"We've got research that shows that young people are price-sensitive and if that means this is a deterrent, then that will be a really successful measure from our part," Roxon told the Nine Network.
Roxon said the tax hike was in response to the Australia's "cultural problem" of heavy drinking, particularly among young women.
The minister said a survey released Sunday reported on "thousands and thousands of girls, (aged) 15 and under, who are drinking these products to amounts that and levels that have never been seen before."