Eleven organizations participated in the launch of a unique Alcohol Manifesto asking minister of health Edith Schippers and state secretary Martin van Rijn to take measures proven to be effective.
New chances for Dutch alcohol policy
“The negative effects of alcohol use could be more effectively prevented than is now the case. Such possibilities are already in existence.”
This is the core of the message from eleven regional and national Dutch organizations who are daily confronted with the damaging effects of alcohol use. These organizations have signed an alcohol manifesto that is directed to the Ministry of Public Health, Welfare, and Sport, in particular to State Secretary Martin van Rijn.
Health benefits, reduction of social costs, prevention human suffering
With the Alcohol Manifesto, the organizations challenge the national government and local authorities to instigate a series of policies whose effectiveness is undisputed. These measures lead to a large health benefits, reduction in social costs and prevention of human suffering.
A call to governments: take the advice of the World Economic Forum and World Health seriously
|The organizations signing the Alcohol Manifesto and therefore making an urgent appeal to the national government, the municipalities and the politics are the following: FAS Foundation of the Netherlands, GGD GHOR Nederland (the Association of Community Health Services and Regional Medical Emergency Preparedness and Planning services), Iriszorg, Jellinek Amsterdam, Lectoraat Verslaving Hogeschool Windesheim, Mondriaan Centrum voor Geestelijke Gezondheid, Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy STAP, Nederlandse Vereniging van Drank- en Horecawet Inspecteurs (NVDI), Novadic-Kentron, Verslavingspreventie Nederland en Victas Centrum voor Verslavingszorg.
In the Alcohol Manifesto, the organizations call on the government to take the policy recommendations of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) seriously and to incorporate them into policy. The core of these recommendations is that increasing the price of alcohol, limiting the number of sales locations and a ban on alcohol should be the foundation of an effective national and local alcohol policy.
The policies are affordable, feasible and cost effective.
The costs of alcohol for society could be drastically reduced
Recently the RIVM calculated that alcohol use costs Dutch society a minimum of 2.6 billion euros annually. Several items could be calculated only with difficulty or not at all, especially costs caused by the excessive drinker to third parties. The authors of the Alcohol Manifesto believe that these costs would be significantly lowered if the government focused efforts on said effective policies.
Positive and negative
The Alcohol Manifesto stresses, among other things, that in recent years major gains have been made in reducing alcohol use among those 16 and younger. Yet we have not yet succeeded in reducing harmful binge drinking (drinking a lot of alcohol per occasion) among adolescents and young adults. This means that large numbers of people are rushed to the emergency department due to alcohol use.
In 2015, 24,000 people were taken to the emergency department due to alcohol poisoning, accidents, violence and self-harm where alcohol was involved. Alcohol also causes many problems with third parties such as domestic violence, sexual violence, traffic accidents and in pregnancy. Concrete and up-to-date figures on these are listed in the Alcohol Manifesto.
Alcohol Manifesto: local differences
The Alcohol Manifesto describes the main trends in current alcohol policy. One of these is developments in local alcohol policy. The signatories of the manifesto believe that the national government has laid too much responsibility for the implementation of the alcohol policy in recent years on the municipalities. A result, great differences have arisen in how alcohol policy has been locally applied. While the age limit of 18 years is maintained well in some municipalities and thus alcohol has become difficult for young people to obtain, enforcement in other municipalities has yet to get off the ground. Signatories also oppose the VNG pilot hybrids retail / hospitality (blurring) that causes alcohol to be available in more places, increasing alcohol problems and further normalizing alcohol consumption. The Alcohol Manifesto underlines the importance of paying special attention to risk groups, including the growing group of older problem drinkers. Furthermore, the Manifesto highlights the success of such programs as ‘I pass,’ in which regular drinkers are challenged to stop using alcohol for a specified period.
Authors of the Alcohol Manifesto:
The manifesto was written by 13 experts at the request of the signatory organizations: Floor van Bakkum MSc, Mr. Dr. Rob Bovens, Ir. Wim van Dalen, Dr. Hans Dupont, Drs. Andrée van Emst, Sandra van Ginneken, Dr. Corrie Hermann, Drs. Roel Kerssemakers, Prof. Dr. Ronald Knibbe, Anja Koornstra MPH, Martijn Planken MSc, Drs. Jaap Toet en Dr. Esther van den Wildenberg.
1 November 2016
For Verslavingszorg (Addiction health care): Floor van Bakkum MSc (Jellinek): 06 – 42 24 78 74 and Hans Dupont: 06 12 70 42 43 (Centre for Mental Health Mondriaan)
Lectoraat Verslaving Windesheim (Lecturship Addiction Windesheim University of Applied Sciences): Mr. Dr. Rob Bovens: 06 - 22 50 55 45
Nederlands Instituut voor Alcoholbeleid STAP (Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy): Ir. Wim van Dalen: 06 - 53 29 55 44
The Alcoholmanifest [NL] can be downloaded via this link; see also www.alcoholmanifest.nl
Images and references to alcohol and tobacco in popular video games may be influencing UK teens who play the games and the age restriction system is not working, according to a new study from The University of Nottingham.
Experts from the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies at The University of Nottingham have carried out the first ever analysis of best-selling video games to find out the extent to which the games include this content and to assess the link between playing the games and drinking and smoking behaviour.
They found that teenagers who play video games featuring alcohol and tobacco references appeared to be directly influenced because they were twice as likely to have tried smoking or drinking themselves.
The research examined the content of 32 UK best-selling video games of 2012/2013 and carried out a large online survey of adolescents playing games with alcohol and tobacco content. An analysis of 'cut scenes' uploaded by gamers to YouTube from the five most popular games was also carried out. All the games studied were from the genres of stealth, action adventure, open world, shooter and survival/horror because they involve avatars that look and act like real people.
The study, published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, found alcohol and tobacco content in 44% of the most popular video games. They also found this content was not reported by the official regulator, the Pan-European Games Information (PEGI) system which informs the Video Standards Council age ratings that help parents decide whether game content is suitable for their children.
The researchers used YouGov survey tools to ask 1,094 UK adolescents aged 11-17 whether they had played any of the most popular video games identified as containing either tobacco or alcohol imagery. They were also asked whether and to what extent they smoked or drank alcohol. The study found that adolescents who had played at least one game with tobacco or alcohol content were twice as likely to have tried smoking or consumed alcohol themselves.
Out of the top five most popular games, Grand Theft Auto V & VI contained the highest level of alcohol and smoking content using fictitious brands only. The other top games containing these references were Call of Duty:Black Ops II, Call of Duty:Modern Warfare 3 and Assassin's Creed III. There was no electronic cigarette content.
Psychologist Dr Joanne Cranwell from the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, said "Although around 54% of UK adolescents play video games online, parental concern over exposure to inappropriate content while playing video games seems to be lower than for other media, like movies for example. While 80% of children aged 10-15 play packaged or online video games with an age rating higher than their age, more than half of British parents are unaware of the harmful content this exposes them to.
"Video games are clearly attractive to adolescents regardless of age classification. It appears that official PEGI content descriptors are failing to restrict youth access to age inappropriate content. We think that the PEGI system needs to include both alcohol and tobacco in their content descriptors. Also, game developers could be offered incentives to reduce the amount of smoking and drinking in their games or to at least reference smoking and drinking on their packaging and websites.
"As a child protection method it is naïve for both the games industry and the Interactive Software Federation of Europe, who regulate the PEGI system, to rely on age ratings alone. Future research should focus on identifying the levels of exposure in terms of dose that youth gamers are exposed to during actual gameplay and the effects of this on long- term alcohol and smoking behaviour."
- Jo Cranwell, Kathy Whittamore, John Britton, Jo Leonardi-Bee. Alcohol and Tobacco Content in UK Video Games and Their Association with Alcohol and Tobacco Use Among Young People. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 2016; 19 (7): 426 DOI: 10.1089/cyber.2016.0093
Source: University of Nottingham. "Teenagers influenced by video games with alcohol, smoking content." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 October 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161025114338.htm
This study has been included in the scientific publications database of EUCAM that can be accessed via this link.
Recent research by Witteman et al (2015) has indicated that the presence of alcohol cues such as the portrayal of the drug and drinking behaviour induced physiological cue reactivity and craving in alcohol dependence through a conditioned appetitive response.
The study "Cue reactivity and its relation to craving and relapse in alcohol dependence: a combined laboratory and field study" by Jurriaan Witteman, Hans Post, Mika Tarvainen, Avalon de Bruijn, Elizabeth De Sousa Fernandes Perna, Johannes G. Ramaekers & Reinout W. Wiers investigated the nature of physiological cue reactivity and craving in response to alcohol cues among alcohol-dependent patients (N
= 80) who were enrolled in detoxification treatment. Further, the predictive value with regard to future drinking of both the magnitude of the physiological and craving response to alcohol cues while in treatment and the degree of alcohol-cue exposure in patients’ natural environment was assessed. Physiological reactivity and craving in response to experimental exposure to alcohol and soft drink advertisements were measured during detoxification treatment using heart rate variability and subjective rating of craving. Following discharge, patients monitored exposure to alcohol advertisements for five consecutive weeks with a diary and were followed up with an assessment of relapse at 5 weeks and 3 months post-discharge.
The results indicated that the presence of alcohol cues such as the portrayal of the drug and drinking behaviour induced physiological cue reactivity and craving. Additionally, cue reactivity and craving were positively correlated, and cue reactivity was larger for patients with shorter histories of alcohol dependence. Further, patients reported a substantial daily exposure to alcohol cues. The magnitude of cue reactivity and the craving response to alcohol cues at baseline and degree of exposure to alcohol cues in patients’ natural environment did not predict relapse. It is concluded that the presence of alcohol cues such as portrayal of alcoholic beverages and drinking behaviour induces cue reactivity and craving in alcohol dependence through a conditioned appetitive response.
The article has been published in the following journal: Psychopharmacology (Berl), 2015, 232(20): 3685–3696.
The article can be downloaded (full text) via this link.
Beer is too cheap and needs a minimum price, according to the Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy STAP. Director Wim van Dalen told RTL Nieuws on Friday that supermarket are selling beers for ‘ridiculous prices’ such as a crate for less than € 5, or 20 cents a bottle.
He said introducing a minimum price could drastically reduce alcohol abuse since his body believes such low prices attract young people and problem drinkers, with the result of alcoholism, crime and absenteeism. STAP cites six recent studies it says demonstrate a minimum price is the best solution, with drinks priced according to their alcohol percentage. According to Van Dalen in the Netherlands a crate of 24 bottles should not be priced for less than € 8.50.
Brewers react differently. A Bavaria spokesman told RTL Nieuws not to be happy with the low prices of beer in supermarkets. “But as relatively small operator in a highly-competitive beer market, we are compelled to (partly) go along with them.”
Grolsch said they are for “reasons of principle” against a fixed price.
EUCAM is currently updating the 'Regulations on alcohol marketing' section on this website. This section provides information on national, statutory regulations of alcohol marketing in Europe; a description of the restrictions per medium; labelling information; the complaints procedure; and lastly a summary about the regulations on alcohol marketing, including exhaustive, downloadable documents from earlier research projects. Click on this link to go to the Regulations page.
For the first time, the costs of alcohol consumption in the Netherlands have been mapped. The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment published an extended cost-benefit analysis, showing that alcohol consumption costs the Dutch society yearly 2,3 to 2,9 billion euro.
If all costs and all benefits of alcohol are expressed in monetary terms, the net costs were 2,3 to 2,9 billion euro in 2013. Examples of the costs of alcohol are less productivity at work, costs of police and justice and traffic accidents. Alcohol also has benefits, for instance excise tax income for government. The feeling of wellbeing that consumers may experience from drinking alcohol has also been expressed in monetary terms. The monetary benefits of alcohol have been subtracted from the costs of alcohol to arrive at the final estimate of net costs for society.
Regulatory policies aimed at reducing the amount of alcohol consumed, such as a further increase of excise taxes, a reduction of the number of sales venues and a total mediaban, will result in savings for society at large. Some examples of such positive effects are less mortality and improvement of quality of life because some diseases associated with alcohol are prevented, more productivity, less traffic accidents and less efforts to be taken by police and justice.
In the long run, over a period of 50 years, an increase in excise taxes of 50% will result in societal benefits of 14 to 20 billion euro, an increase of excise taxes of 200% will result in societal benefits of 37 to 47 billion euro. The societal benefits of closure of 10% of sales venues are estimated at 3 to 5 billion euro after 50 years, and at 8 to 12 billion euro when 25% of sales venues would be closed. The societal benefits of a mediaban would amount to 7 billion euro after 50 years, but there is more uncertainty about this result.
This appears from a study led by RIVM. The three regulatory policies have been modelled using the Social Cost-Benefit Analysis (SCBA) approach. By expressing the net welfare effect of government policies and interventions, SCBAs can support policy makers in taking decisions on implementation of future policies.
to download the report.
Brussels, 27 September. Today, nearly 40 childrens’ rights, family, consumer, public health, alcohol control, and medical organisations launched a joint call to Members of the European Parliament for ambitious action to free Europe’s children, youth and parents from aggressive marketing of products harmful to health and future well-being.
Europe is facing a childhood obesity epidemic and youth drinking is causing major harm. Health problems starting in childhood often last a lifetime. The links between advertising and increased consumption are well-established, but European children and youth are still constantly bombarded by manipulative marketing and promotion across all media.
Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General, Eurochild: “Children are less likely to differentiate between programming and advertisement. So, self-regulation or encryption is not enough to protect children’s right to health and all other rights enshrined in the UN Convention on Children’s Rights. Revision of the EU directive on audio-visual media services must consider best interests of the child and children’s own experiences to enable them to safely access information, use digital technology and be active citizens
The declaration demands that strong, effective measures are put in place to minimise young people’s exposure to health-harmful marketing; to prohibit product placement and sponsorship by alcohol producers and foods high in fat, sugar and salt; and to ensure that Member States can effectively limit broadcasts from other countries on public health grounds.
Mariann Skar, Secretary General, European Alcohol Policy Alliance: “Exposure to alcohol advertising increases the likelihood that young people will start drinking at an earlier age, and to drink more if they already consume alcohol. We are not proposing a ban but moderate changes that would allow children to grow up free from alcohol marketing”
The statement follows the European Parliament hearing on the revision of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD), which is the
opportunity to address the marketing of unhealthy food and alcohol at European scale.
Nina Renshaw, Secretary General, European Public Health Alliance: “This is not about telling people what to eat, nor telling parents what to feed their children, but rather freeing our kids from the pressures of marketing and promotion. Today the unhealthiest options are constantly put right in front of kids via the programmes they’re most likely to be watching – not just cartoons but football matches, singing contests and reality shows. Any parent knows too well the persuasive power of kids exposed to these ads, and how difficult it makes it to go for healthier choices.”
Susanne Løgstrup, Director European Heart Network: “Since the beginning of this millennium, it is well established that marketing to children affects their eating behaviour. Whilst marketing of foods high in salt, fat and sugar is not the only influencer, it is an important one and this is why the World Health Organization is calling on governments to adopt strong measures to reduce the impact on children and adults of all forms of marketing. We believe that the European Parliament now has the perfect opportunity to act on that call.”
Statement by European Academy of Paediatrics: "Health promotion initiatives should focus not only on limiting exposure to messages inciting substance abuse and unhealthy diets but also on problematic cell phone use which is closely related to this risky behaviors. Intervention strategies in early adolescence should also cover schools in order to assist families in reducing or eliminating the development of dangerous attitudes."
You can download the declaration here.
The Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global has invested around 10 billion US Dollars (81 Norwegian Kroner) in multinational alcohol corporations. A campaign by Norwegian civil society organisations has been launched to stop this. The main claim of the campaign is that investing in alcohol companies is incompatible with the overarching goals of Norwegian development and foreign policies.
The Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) is one of the largest investment funds in the world, now owning 1.3 per cent of the global stock market the fund. The fund with a total value of more the 7.300 billion Norwegian Kroner (900 billion US Dollars), invests in around 8.000 companies all over the world. Close to 80 billion NOKs are invested in multinational alcohol companies. Half of this, 21 billion NOKs in ABInBev and 17 billion in SABMiller, is invested in two companies that are now merging to become the largest alcohol producer in the world. The investment portfolio also includes companies like Diageo, Heineken and Carlsberg. Such investments are now being challenged by the political campaign that aims to make the Government Pension Fund divest from alcohol production and the industry at large.
A campaign has been launched in Oslo on 21 September 2016, at which reference has been made to the Global Burden of Disease study that ranks alcohol among the top five of risk factors for disease and premature deaths globally. The Norwegian NGO campaign, initiated by FORUT, claims that it is unethical to build the future welfare of the Norwegian people on profits from a product that causes health and social harm to others, in particular when the harm caused impacts so many among the world’s poorest.
Continuous public debate around the investment policies and strategies of the GPFG has resulted in guidelines for ethical and responsible investments and a divestment list has been created, for which NGOs now advocate to include alcohol production.
Source and more information: http://www.add-resources.org/norwegian-ngo-campaign-divest-from-the-alcohol-industry.5907103-315750.html
Comments by Kari Randen from AV-OG-TIL (Norway):
- One of Norway’s most important footprints in the world is how we invest our money. We manage one of the largest wealth funds in the world, which steward about 1 percent of the worlds stocks. By making ethical investments, we may be able to make a huge difference in the world.
- We know that alcohol is one of the leading causes of death in the Sub-Saharan Africa. The industry is looking to Africa as a continent with a large potential growth in the future. With this in mind, it is obvious that Norway must stop investing in the alcohol industry.
- Since 2009, the fund has not been investing in the tobacco industry. I believe this exit has been successful, and it has been an important message that we do not accept investment in an industry that brings death. By the same reasons, it is important that Norway’s pension fund now pull out of the alcohol industry.