Special Issue "Alcohol Policy and Public Health"

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Charles D.H. Parry
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town 7505, South Africa; Department of Psychiatry, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town 7602, South Africa
Interests: alcohol and drug epidemiology; burden of disease and policy; alcohol use and HIV/TB treatment; and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
Dr. Niamh Fitzgerald
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
UK Centre for Tobacco & Alcohol Studies, Institute for Social Marketing, University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA, United Kingdom
Interests: alcohol policy evaluation (pricing, premises licensing, drink driving); conflicts of interest; framing in policy debates; alcohol in pregnancy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol was released by the WHO in 2010 with the expectation that it would encourage member states to more systematically institute evidence-based strategies to address alcohol problems. This strategy has had mixed success, with some now calling for stronger collective action at an international level, including implementation of a Framework Convention on Alcohol Control (FCAC). There has also been growing awareness of initiatives by the alcohol industry within countries, and more broadly through exploiting international trade agreements, to thwart effective national alcohol policy implementation. The purpose of this Special Issue is to be a platform for articles of relevance to stimulating effective action to promote and sustain alcohol policy reform at international, regional (e.g. the EU), national, and sub-national (e.g. provincial) levels. This Special Issue of IJERPH therefore welcomes submissions focusing on the relationship between alcohol policy and consumption, or alcohol policy and related harms, and on how to facilitate and achieve the formulation and implementation of evidence-informed policy changes at international/regional, national, and sub-national levels. Submissions may include a focus on activities that may impede or facilitate the formulation and implementation of promising alcohol policies, including working collaboratively with policy makers, improving advocacy strategies, and exposing and countering conflicts of interest and/or the actions of industry actors.

It also welcomes manuscripts that look at how to improve coherence across alcohol, tobacco, and nutrition policies in order to increase the likelihood of policy formulation and impact; how to better evaluate the effectiveness of single or multiple alcohol policies at country level; and how to measure the state of alcohol policy formulation and implementation at country level and changes over time. While the focus will be on empirical articles, articles with an editorial style or which propose methodological innovations will also be considered.

Prof. Dr. Charles D.H. Parry
Dr. Niamh Fitzgerald
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • alcohol control
  • alcohol policy
  • public health
  • alcohol industry
  • global strategy
  • indicators
  • policy evaluation
  • unhealthy commodities
  • framing
  • conflicts of interest

Published Papers (9 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Open AccessArticle
Effects of a Risk-Based Licensing Scheme on the Incidence of Alcohol-Related Assault in Queensland, Australia: A Quasi-Experimental Evaluation
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(23), 4637; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16234637 - 21 Nov 2019
Abstract
: Amid concerns about increasing alcohol-related violence in licensed premises, Queensland introduced a system of risk-based licensing (RBL) in 2009, the first of five Australian jurisdictions to do so. Under RBL, annual license fees are supposed to reflect the risk of harm associated [...] Read more.
: Amid concerns about increasing alcohol-related violence in licensed premises, Queensland introduced a system of risk-based licensing (RBL) in 2009, the first of five Australian jurisdictions to do so. Under RBL, annual license fees are supposed to reflect the risk of harm associated with the outlet’s trading hours and record of compliance with liquor laws. The objective is to improve service and management practices thereby reducing patron intoxication and related problems. Using police data, we defined cases as assaults that occurred during so-called ‘high-alcohol hours’, and compared a pre-intervention period of 2004–2008 with the post-intervention period 2009–2014. We employed segmented linear regression, adjusting for year and time of assault (high vs. low alcohol hours), to model the incidence of (1) all assaults and (2) a subset that police indicated were related to drinking in licensed premises. We found a small decrease in all assaults (β = −5 per 100,000 persons/year; 95% CI: 2, 9) but no significant change in the incidence of assault attributed to drinking in licensed premises (β = −8; 95% CI: −18, 2). Accordingly, we concluded that the results do not support a hypothesis that RBL is effective in the prevention of harm from licensed premises. There may be value in trialing regulatory schemes with meaningful contingencies for non-compliance, and, in the meantime, implementing demonstrably effective strategies, such as trading hour restrictions, if the aim is to reduce alcohol-related violence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alcohol Policy and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle
Help or Hindrance? The Alcohol Industry and Alcohol Control in Portugal
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(22), 4554; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16224554 - 18 Nov 2019
Abstract
The influence of the alcohol industry, also known as “corporate political activity” (CPA), is documented as one of the main barriers in implementing effective alcohol control policies. In Portugal, despite an alcohol consumption above the European average, alcohol control does not feature in [...] Read more.
The influence of the alcohol industry, also known as “corporate political activity” (CPA), is documented as one of the main barriers in implementing effective alcohol control policies. In Portugal, despite an alcohol consumption above the European average, alcohol control does not feature in the current National Health Plan. The present research aimed to identify and describe the CPA of the alcohol industry in Portugal. Publicly-available data published between January 2018 and April 2019 was extracted from the main websites and social media accounts of alcohol industry trade associations, charities funded by the industry, government, and media. A “Policy Dystopia” framework, used to describe the CPA strategies of the tobacco industry, was adapted and used to perform a qualitative thematic analysis. Both instrumental and discursive strategies were found. The industry works in partnership with health authorities, belonging to the national task force responsible for planning alcohol control policies. Additionally, it emphasizes the role alcohol plays in Portuguese culture as a way to disregard evidence on control policies from other countries. This paper presents the first description of CPA by the alcohol industry in Portugal and provides evidence for the adoption of stricter control policies in the country. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alcohol Policy and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle
The Impact of Liquor Restrictions on Serious Assaults across Queensland, Australia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(22), 4362; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16224362 - 08 Nov 2019
Abstract
Aims: This study aimed to explore the relationship between a 00:00 liquor restriction, introduced on 1 July 2016, and alcohol-related harm by examining its impact on serious assault numbers during high-alcohol hours (20:00–6:00 Friday and Saturday night), from 1 January 2009 to [...] Read more.
Aims: This study aimed to explore the relationship between a 00:00 liquor restriction, introduced on 1 July 2016, and alcohol-related harm by examining its impact on serious assault numbers during high-alcohol hours (20:00–6:00 Friday and Saturday night), from 1 January 2009 to 30 June 2018. Methods: Two types of locations only impacted by the liquor restriction were identified: designated safe night precincts (SNPs) and other local government areas (LGAs). A times series autoregressive integrated moving average analysis was used to estimate the influence of liquor restrictions on police-recorded serious assaults in the two years following the policy introduction, for SNPs and LGAs separately. Results: Contrarily to our predictions, monthly police-recorded serious assaults did not significantly change within SNPs or LGAs following the introduction of liquor restrictions. Conclusion: The implementation of the Queensland liquor restriction did not result in a clear, unique reduction in serious assault trends. Further investigation should consider the impact of liquor restrictions in conjunction with other policy changes as public perception of restrictions and their cumulative impact may produce varied outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alcohol Policy and Public Health)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Recruiting the “Heavy-Using Loyalists of Tomorrow”: An Analysis of the Aims, Effects and Mechanisms of Alcohol Advertising, Based on Advertising Industry Evaluations
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(21), 4092; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16214092 - 24 Oct 2019
Abstract
Restricting alcohol advertising and marketing is a cost-effective intervention for reducing alcohol harms. However, the alcohol industry maintains that advertising does not affect consumption, claiming that its purpose is to help consumers choose brands, it is not aimed at young people, it only [...] Read more.
Restricting alcohol advertising and marketing is a cost-effective intervention for reducing alcohol harms. However, the alcohol industry maintains that advertising does not affect consumption, claiming that its purpose is to help consumers choose brands, it is not aimed at young people, it only promotes “responsible consumption”, and any relationships with consumption are not causal. We reviewed 39 case studies (1981–2016) published by the advertising industry, which evaluate the effects of alcohol advertising campaigns. We used these to examine these industry claims. 30/39 (77%) of the case studies mentioned increasing/maintaining market share as an objective, or used this to assess the effectiveness of advertising campaigns. Most (25/39, 64%) found that campaigns increased consumption-related outcomes. Some campaigns targeted women, and heavy drinkers (e.g., Stella Artois lager, Famous Grouse whisky). Campaigns often (13/39, 33%) targeted younger drinkers. These data show that advertising does influence market share. Other effects reported in the case studies include changing the consumer profile towards: younger drinkers, women, new/lapsed drinkers, and heavy drinkers. They also present evidence of a causal relationship between advertising and consumption. In conclusion, this analysis, based on industry data, presents significant new evidence on (i) the effects of alcohol advertising on consumption-related outcomes, and (ii) the mechanisms by which it achieves those effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alcohol Policy and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle
“Everyone Has the Right to Drink Beer”: A Stakeholder Analysis of Challenges to Youth Alcohol Harm-Reduction Policies in Lebanon
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(16), 2874; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16162874 - 12 Aug 2019
Abstract
Background: Alcohol use is a major risk factor in premature death and disability, especially among youth. Evidence-based policies to prevent and control the detrimental effect of alcohol use have been recommended. In countries with weak alcohol control policies—such as Lebanon, stakeholder analysis provides [...] Read more.
Background: Alcohol use is a major risk factor in premature death and disability, especially among youth. Evidence-based policies to prevent and control the detrimental effect of alcohol use have been recommended. In countries with weak alcohol control policies—such as Lebanon, stakeholder analysis provides critical information to influence policy interventions. This paper assesses the views of stakeholders regarding a national alcohol harm reduction policy for youth. Methods: We interviewed a total of 22 key stakeholders over a period of 8 months in 2015. Stakeholders were selected purposively, to include representatives of governmental and non-governmental organizations and industry that could answer questions related to core intervention areas: affordability, availability, regulation of marketing, and drinking and driving. We analyzed interview transcripts using thematic analysis. Results: Three themes emerged: Inadequacy of current alcohol control policies; weak governance and disregard for rule of law as a determinant of the status quo; and diverting of responsibility towards ‘other’ stakeholders. In addition, industry representatives argued against evidence-based policies using time-worn strategies identified globally. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that alcohol harm reduction policies are far from becoming a policy priority in Lebanon. There is a clear need to shift the narrative from victim blaming to structural conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alcohol Policy and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle
Local Alcohol Policy Implementation in Scotland: Understanding the Role of Accountability within Licensing
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(11), 1880; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16111880 - 28 May 2019
Abstract
Scotland has been ambitious in its policy and legislative efforts to tackle alcohol-related harm, efforts which include the innovative feature of a ‘public health objective’ within local alcohol licensing. However, the persistence of alcohol-related harms and inequalities requires further examination of both the [...] Read more.
Scotland has been ambitious in its policy and legislative efforts to tackle alcohol-related harm, efforts which include the innovative feature of a ‘public health objective’ within local alcohol licensing. However, the persistence of alcohol-related harms and inequalities requires further examination of both the overarching Scottish alcohol strategy and its specific implementation. A qualitative case study was undertaken to explore how alcohol policy is implemented locally in Scotland, with data generated from (i) documentary analysis of 12 relevant policies, legislation, and guidance documents; and (ii) a thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews with 54 alcohol policy implementers in three Scottish localities and nine national-level stakeholders. The data suggest there is a tension between the intentions of licensing legislation and the way it is enacted in practice, and that accountability emerges as an important factor for understanding why this occurs. In particular, there are a lack of accountability mechanisms acting upon Scottish Licensing Boards to ensure they contribute to the public health goals of the Scottish alcohol strategy. From a public health perspective, this has perpetuated a system in which Licensing Boards continue to act with autonomy from the rest of the alcohol policy implementation system, creating a challenge to the achievement of public health goals. Alcohol policy in Scotland is likely to fall short of intended goals as long as the tension between licensing legislation and enacted licensing practices remains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alcohol Policy and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle
Deterring Drunk Driving: Why Some States Go Further Than Others in Policy Innovation
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(10), 1749; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16101749 - 17 May 2019
Abstract
Policy innovation and diffusion studies have, since 1990, generally focused on a specific policy over time. Yet, few studies have considered if and why states adopt related multiple policies—a package of reforms—in a policy area. Are more innovative states in DUI policy likely [...] Read more.
Policy innovation and diffusion studies have, since 1990, generally focused on a specific policy over time. Yet, few studies have considered if and why states adopt related multiple policies—a package of reforms—in a policy area. Are more innovative states in DUI policy likely to adopt a comprehensive set of policies or use them as substitutes for each other? In this study, we assess how overall state innovativeness relates to the adoption of sixteen DUI (Driving Under the Influence) laws. We find that state innovativeness in traffic safety policies (but not overall policy innovativeness), organizational size, and professionalism of a state highway department increase the likelihood that a state will adopt a more comprehensive bundle of DUI laws. Furthermore, we also test whether institutional or competitive bandwagon effects are found across this policy area and demonstrate that national institutional bandwagon effects are an important factor related to the increased comprehensiveness of state adoption of DUI policies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alcohol Policy and Public Health)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Alcohol Industry CSR Organisations: What Can Their Twitter Activity Tell Us about Their Independence and Their Priorities? A Comparative Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(5), 892; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16050892 - 12 Mar 2019
Abstract
There are concerns about the accuracy of the health information provided by alcohol industry (AI)-funded organisations and about their independence. We conducted a content analysis of the health information disseminated by AI-funded organisations through Twitter, compared with non-AI-funded charities, to assess whether their [...] Read more.
There are concerns about the accuracy of the health information provided by alcohol industry (AI)-funded organisations and about their independence. We conducted a content analysis of the health information disseminated by AI-funded organisations through Twitter, compared with non-AI-funded charities, to assess whether their messages align with industry and/or public health objectives. We compared all tweets from 2016 from Drinkaware (UK); Drinkaware.ie (Ireland); and DrinkWise (Australia), to non-AI-funded charities Alcohol Concern (UK), Alcohol Action Ireland, and FARE (Australia). Industry-funded bodies were significantly less likely to tweet about alcohol marketing, advertising and sponsorship; alcohol pricing; and physical health harms, including cancers, heart disease and pregnancy. They were significantly more likely to tweet about behavioural aspects of drinking and less likely to mention cancer risk; particularly breast cancer. These findings are consistent with previous evidence that the purpose of such bodies is the protection of the alcohol market, and of the alcohol industry’s reputation. Their messaging strongly aligns with AI corporate social responsibility goals. The focus away from health harms, particularly cancer, is also consistent with previous evidence. The evidence does not support claims by these alcohol-industry-funded bodies about their independence from industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alcohol Policy and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle
The Public Health Responsibility Deal: Using a Systems-Level Analysis to Understand the Lack of Impact on Alcohol, Food, Physical Activity, and Workplace Health Sub-Systems
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(12), 2895; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15122895 - 17 Dec 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
The extent to which government should partner with business interests such as the alcohol, food, and other industries in order to improve public health is a subject of ongoing debate. A common approach involves developing voluntary agreements with industry or allowing them to [...] Read more.
The extent to which government should partner with business interests such as the alcohol, food, and other industries in order to improve public health is a subject of ongoing debate. A common approach involves developing voluntary agreements with industry or allowing them to self-regulate. In England, the most recent example of this was the Public Health Responsibility Deal (RD), a public–private partnership launched in 2011 under the then Conservative-led coalition government. The RD was organised around a series of voluntary agreements that aim to bring together government, academic experts, and commercial, public sector and voluntary organisations to commit to pledges to undertake actions of public health benefit. This paper brings together the main findings and implications of the evaluation of the RD using a systems approach. We analysed the functioning of the RD exploring the causal pathways involved and how they helped or hindered the RD; the structures and processes; feedback loops and how they might have constrained or potentiated the effects of the RD; and how resilient the wider systems were to change (i.e., the alcohol, food, and other systems interacted with). Both the production and uptake of pledges by RD partners were largely driven by the interests of partners themselves, enabling these wider systems to resist change. This analysis demonstrates how and why the RD did not meet its objectives. The findings have lessons for the development of effective alcohol, food and other policies, for defining the role of unhealthy commodity industries, and for understanding the limits of industry self-regulation as a public health measure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alcohol Policy and Public Health)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Back to TopTop