Authors: Alan Vendrame
Title: When evidence is not enough: a case study on alcohol marketing legislation in Brazil
Journal: Addiction, 2016, 10.1111/add.13441
Aims: This case study identifies the influence and mechanisms that the alcohol industry in Brazil has been able to bring to bear to maintain self-regulation in the marketing of beer and many wines set against a trend of increasing alcohol consumption in Brazil, particularly among young people and women. It identifies the forms of power and strategies used by the alcohol industry in Brazil that may be useful for other countries to consider in seeking to move from self-regulation to state regulation of alcohol marketing.
Method: A review was conducted of recent legal documents and court cases, as well as the activities of alcoholic beverage industries.
Results: Because of an exemption, Brazilian law had established that both beer and many wines are not alcoholic beverages for marketing purposes. These beverages are subjected to industry self-regulation codes. Research shows that beer and wine marketing often violates industry codes, with little or no enforcement of penalties for non-compliance. Attempts to include beer and wine in the legal definition of alcohol have been opposed by the alcohol industry, and the courts have delegated responsibility to the legislature. The recent legal activities surrounding alcohol sales during the 2014 World Cup games in Brazil provide evidence of the alcohol industry’s influence on the legislative process.
Conclusion: The alcohol industry in Brazil plays a significant role in the formulation of public policies on alcohol, especially regarding the regulation of marketing. This power is exercised by strong lobbying of government officials responsible for public policies.