Social and Cultural Aspects

In Europe and the world, the consumption patterns of alcoholic beverages as well as the expectations about the effects of alcohol are strongly influenced by cultural factors. The vast majority of people who drink wine, do so in moderation. This is the reason why reducing the overall amount of alcohol a society consumes does not necessarily reduce the drinking problems in this society. Thus, it is important to consider cultural and social factors when developing alcohol policies.

 

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The alcohol industry have attempted to position themselves as collaborators in alcohol policy making as a way of influencing policies away from a focus on the drivers of the harmful use of alcohol (marketing, over availability and affordability). Their framings of alcohol consumption and harms allow them to argue for ineffective measures, largely targeting heavier consumers, and against population wide measures as the latter will affect moderate drinkers. The goal of their public relations organisations is to 'promote responsible drinking'. However, analysis of data collected in the International Alcohol Control study and used to estimate how much heavier drinking occasions contribute to the alcohol market in five different countries shows the alcohol industry's reliance on the harmful use of alcohol.…
BACKGROUND: Alcohol consumption is influenced by a complex causal system of interconnected psychological, behavioural, social, economic, legal and environmental factors. These factors are shaped by governments (eg, licensing laws and taxation), by consumers (eg, patterns of alcohol consumption drive demand) and by alcohol industry practices, such as advertising. The marketing and advertising of alcoholic products contributes to an 'alcogenic environment' and is a modifiable influence on alcohol consumption and harm. The public health perspective is that there is sufficient evidence that alcohol advertising influences consumption. The alcohol industry disputes this, asserting that advertising only aims to help consumers choose between brands. METHODS: We review the evidence from recent systematic reviews, including their theoretical and methodological assumptions, to help understand what…
CONTEXT: Transnational alcohol corporations (TACs) employ a range of strategies to achieve their business objectives, including attempts to frame perceptions of their activities in media debates. TACs aim to achieve a favourable regulatory environment by presenting themselves as socially responsible actors. However, the need to secure financial investment means they must also emphasise their potential for growth. This article investigates tensions between these objectives in coverage of the global alcohol industry in the UK print media. METHODS: This article examines coverage of the world's four largest TACs in five British daily newspapers and one industry publication between March 2012 and February 2013. 477 articles were identified for analysis through keyword searches of the LexisNexis database. Thematic coding of articles was…
Background and aims The 2011 UN Summit on Non-Communicable Disease failed to call for global action on alcohol marketing despite calls in the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Action Plan on Non-Communicable Diseases 2013-20 to restrict or ban alcohol advertising. In this paper we ask what it might take to match the global approach to tobacco enshrined in the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), and suggest that public health advocates can learn from the development of the FCTC and the Code of Marketing on infant formula milks and the recent recommendations on restricting food marketing to children. Methods Narrative review of qualitative accounts of the processes that created and monitor existing codes and treaties to restrict the marketing of…
This paper reviews the evidence for the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of policies to reduce alcohol-related harm. Policies focus on price, marketing, availability, information and education, the drinking environment, drink-driving, and brief interventions and treatment. Although there is variability in research design and measured outcomes, evidence supports the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of policies that address affordability and marketing. An adequate reduction in temporal availability, particularly late night on-sale availability, is effective and cost-effective. Individually-directed interventions delivered to at-risk drinkers and enforced legislative measures are also effective. Providing information and education increases awareness, but is not sufficient to produce long-lasting changes in behaviour. At best, interventions enacted in and around the drinking environment lead to small reductions in acute alcohol-related harm. Overall,…

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