26 January 2022 In Drinking Patterns

INTRODUCTION: The Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol were released in 2020 by the National Health and Medical Research Council. Based on the latest evidence, the guidelines provide advice on how to keep the risk of harm from alcohol low. They refer to an Australian standard drink (10 g ethanol).

RECOMMENDATIONS: *Guideline 1: To reduce the risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury, healthy men and women should drink no more than ten standard drinks a week and no more than four standard drinks on any one day. The less you drink, the lower your risk of harm from alcohol. *Guideline 2: To reduce the risk of injury and other harms to health, children and people under 18 years of age should not drink alcohol. *Guideline 3: To prevent harm from alcohol to their unborn child, women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should not drink alcohol. For women who are breastfeeding, not drinking alcohol is safest for their baby.

CHANGES AS RESULT OF THE GUIDELINE: The recommended limit for healthy adults changed from two standard drinks per day (effectively 14 per week) to ten per week. The new guideline states that the less you drink, the lower your risk of harm from alcohol. The recommended maximum on any one day remains four drinks (clarified from previously "per drinking occasion"). Guidance is clearer for pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for people aged less than 18 years, recommending not drinking.

26 January 2022 In Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: Adolescent drinking has declined in many high-income countries since the early 2000s. It has been suggested that changing parenting practices may have contributed to the decline. However, previous studies investigating parenting have focused on single countries and have provided conflicting evidence. This study tested the association between changes in individual- and population-level parental control and parental support and changes in past month adolescent drinking.

METHODS: A total of 271,823 adolescents aged 15-16 years, from 30 European countries between 2003 and 2015 were included in this study. Our key independent variables were adolescent reports of parental control and parental support. Our outcome measure was a dichotomous measure of any alcohol use in the 30 days before the survey, referred as past month drinking. Aggregated measures of parenting variables were used to estimate between-country and within-country effects of parenting on adolescent drinking. Data were analysed using three-level hierarchical linear probability methods.

RESULTS: At the individual-level, we found a negative association between the two parental measures, i.e. parental control (beta = -0.003 and 95% CI = -0.021 to 0.017) and parental support (beta = -0.008 and 95% CI = -0.010 to 0.006) and past month drinking. This suggests adolescents whose parents exert higher control and provide more support tend to drink less. At a population level, we did not find any evidence of association on between-country and within-country parenting changes and past month drinking.

CONCLUSIONS: It is unlikely that changes in parental control or support at the population-level have contributed to the decline in drinking among adolescents in 30 European countries.

26 January 2022 In Drinking Patterns
Youth drinking has declined in many high-income countries for two decades. This development is still largely unexplained. Developing evidence and extending our understanding as to the mechanisms behind these changes is imperative for advising governments and policy makers on how to support and maintain the trends. Given the international scope of the trends, comparative studies have been suggested for improving our understanding of the development. In this commentary, we explore the patterns observed across several waves of the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs between 1999 and 2019, and how these match-up with the World Values Survey. We found that the declines in youth drinking are limited to a smaller number of countries and that in Europe these are all found in two groups from the World Values Survey, protestant Europe and English-speaking countries. If the declines in youth drinking are systematic and limited to a smaller number of countries, this challenges some of the hypothesised drivers of this development, but can also help guide future research.
17 November 2021 In Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: In many countries, lockdown measures were implemented to curb the COVID-19 pandemic. This situation may have an impact on mental health, tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption. The aim of this research report is therefore to describe changes in tobacco and alcohol consumption in the general French population during the first 2 weeks of lockdown and identify any associated factors.

METHODS: Self-reported changes in smoking and alcohol consumption following the lockdown implemented in France on 17 March 2020 were collected from 2003 respondents aged 18 years and older in an online cross-sectional survey carried out from 30 March to 1 April 2020. Anxiety and depression levels were assessed using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale.

RESULTS: Among current smokers, 26.7% reported an increase in their tobacco consumption since lockdown and 18.6% reported a decrease, while it remained stable for 54.7%. The increase in tobacco consumption was associated with an age of 18-34 years, a high level of education, and anxiety. Among alcohol drinkers, 10.7% reported an increase in their alcohol consumption since lockdown and 24.4% reported a decrease, while it remained stable for 64.8%. The increase in alcohol consumption was associated with an age of 18-49 years, living in cities of more than 100 000 inhabitants, a high socio-professional category, and a depressive mood.

CONCLUSIONS: The national lockdown implemented in France during the COVID-19 pandemic influenced tobacco and alcohol consumption in different ways according to sociodemographic group and mental health.

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