An alliance of scientific experts, from the ALICE-RAP project, call for a European-wide ban on alcohol marketing. According to their latest policy brief, this could drive down excessive drinking and associated health risks throughout the continent.

 

ALICE-RAP stands for Addiction and Lifestyles in Contemporary Europe – Reframing Addictions Project, a project which brings together over 150 scientists from all corners of addiction research. Among the participating institutions are EUCAM members STAP, the Dutch Institute for Alcohol policy and PARPA, the Polish State Agency for the Prevention of Alcohol-Related Problems. In their new policy brief, the ALIC-RAP participants say that Alcohol is Europe’s most persistent and devastating addiction problem.

The briefing points out that evidence shows alcohol adverts pushing people into higher and more harmful levels of consumption as well as triggering relapses among those trying stop drinking. Additionally, it can encourage young people to start drinking. That’s why the briefing advocates a comprehensive ban.

“Europeans drink more than twice the world’s average and alcohol represents the number one addiction problem in Europe today, greater than any other drug or gambling, “ said Dr Peter Anderson, Professor of Substance Use, Policy and Practice, Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University, and co-leader of the project. “Our aim with this policy brief is to help decision makers across the EU and beyond break the negative pattern of harmful alcohol consumption and costs by providing much needed scientific input to the discussion, which has long been dominated by the alcohol industry lobbyists,” he added.

According to the briefing, the most effect and fairest policies are those which ‘nudge people towards lower consumption’, through price hikes, restrictions on availability, and advertising bans.

The Scottish government recently announced its intention to introduce a minimum price per unit (50 pence). England is also considering minimum pricing (40 pence). These measures are backed by research. The briefing says that this strategy cuts consumption ‘among those who most need to curb their intake’. Further related measures to save lives would be reducing the number of sales outlets, the days and hours of sale, as well as the number of grams of alcohol in a packaged drink.

Read the policy briefing here

Source: onmedica.com 05/17/12

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