Authors: M. Petticrew, N. Douglas, P. D’Souza, Y.M. Shi, M.A. Durand, C. Knai, E. Eastmure, N. Mays Title: Community Alcohol Partnerships with the alcohol industry: what is their purpose and are they effective in reducing alcohol harms? Journal: Journal of Public Health, pp. 1–16, doi:10.1093/pubmed/fdw139 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Abstract: Background:  Local initiatives to reduce alcohol harms are common. One UK approach, Community Alcohol Partnerships (CAPs), involves partnerships between the alcohol industry and local government, focussing on alcohol misuse and anti-social behaviour (ASB) among young people. This study aimed to assess the evidence of effectiveness of CAPs. Methods:  We searched CAP websites and documents, and databases, and contacted CAPs to identify evaluations and summarize their findings. We appraised these against four methodological criteria: (i) reporting of pre–post data; (ii) use of comparison area(s); (iii) length of follow-up; and (iv) baseline comparability of comparison and intervention areas. Results: Out of 88 CAPs, we found three CAP evaluations which used controlled designs or comparison areas, and further data on 10 other CAPs. The most robust evaluations found little change in ASB, though few data were presented. While CAPs appear to affect public perceptions of ASB, this is not a measure of the effectiveness of CAPs. Conclusion: Despite industry claims, the few existing evaluations do not provide convincing evidence that CAPs are effective in reducing alcohol harms or ASB. Their main role may be as an alcohol industry corporate social responsibility measure which is intended to limit the reputational damage associated with alcohol-related ASB. The article (full text) can be downloaded via this link.
Research suggest that YouTube music videos promote positive associations with alcohol use. In the study “F*ck It! Let’s Get to Drinking—Poison our Livers!”: a Thematic Analysis of Alcohol Content in Contemporary YouTube Music Videos, researchers examine and describe the portrayal of alcohol content in popular YouTube music videos. This study shows that several alcohol companies adopt marketing strategies in the video medium that are entirely inconsistent with their own or other agreed advertising codes of practice.It is concluded that, as a harm reduction measure, policies should change to prevent adolescent exposure to the positive promotion of alcohol and alcohol branding in music videos. The analysis found that alcohol content was associated with sexualised imagery or lyrics and the objectification of women. Also, alcohol was associated with image, lifestyle and sociability. Finally, some videos showed alcohol overtly encouraging excessive drinking and drunkenness, including those containing branding, with no negative consequences to the drinker. The study builds upon previous research (see this and this link) that showed that popular YouTube music videos are watched by a large number of British adolescents, particularly girls, and include significant tobacco and alcohol content, including branding. 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.
Authors: Jurriaan Witteman, Hans Post, Mika Tarvainen, Avalon de Bruijn, Elizabeth De Sousa Fernandes Perna, Johannes G. Ramaekers & Reinout W. Wiers Title: Cue reactivity and its relation to craving and relapse in alcohol dependence: a combined laboratory and field study Journal: Psychopharmacology (Berl), 2015, 232(20): 3685–3696.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Abstract: The present study 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 can be downloaded (full text) via this link.

Authors: Gallopel-Morvan,Spilka, Mutatayi, Rigaud, Lecas & Beck Title: France's Évin Law on the control of alcohol advertising: content, effectiveness and limitations Journal: Addiction, 2016, 10.1111/add.13431.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Abstract: Aims: To assess the effectiveness of the 2015 version of the French Évin Law that was implemented in 1991 with the objective of protecting young people from alcohol advertising.

Design: Data were obtained from survey questions measuring exposure and receptivity to alcohol ads that were introduced for the first time in the 2015 European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs. Participants and settings: A representative sample of 6,642 tenth to twelfth grade students (mean age 17.3) were interviewed in 198 schools in France by a self-administered questionnaire. Measurements: Information was collected on alcohol advertising exposure in different media (outside billboards, Internet, etc.) and receptivity to recent ads (attractiveness, incentive to drink, etc.). Findings: The majority of students declared that they had been exposed at least once a month to alcohol ads in supermarkets (73.2%), in movies (66.1%), magazines and newspapers (59.1%), on billboards in streets (54.5%), and on the Internet (54.1%). Concerning the last recalled ads, 27.8% remembered the beverage type, 18.2% the brand, 13% felt like having a drink after having seen the ad and 19.6% found the ad attractive (boys ranked significantly higher than girls for all these indicators; p-value < 0.05). Conclusions: The 2015 version of the French Évin law does not appear effectively to protect young people from exposure to alcohol advertising in France. The full text article can be downloaded here. 
The more brand-specific alcohol advertising that young drinkers are exposed to, the higher their consumption of those brands, according to a new study led by researchers from the School of Public Health and School of Medicine. The study, in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, found an association between past-year exposure to advertising, measured in what the researchers called “adstock” units, and consumption of the brands advertised. Every 100 adstock-unit increase in exposure was associated with an increase of six drinks consumed during the past 30 days, while exposures of 300 or more adstock units were associated with an increase of 55.7 drinks. The study examined links between exposure to brand-specific TV advertising and drinking among a national sample of more than 1,000 youths, ages 13 to 20, who reported drinking in the past 30 days. Participants were surveyed about their past-month viewership of the 20 most popular non-sports shows that contained alcohol ads. They also were asked about their past-month consumption of the 61 brands in those advertisements. The study estimated that the advertised brands accounted for almost 47 percent of all alcohol consumed by the young drinkers, and that there was a “dose-response” relationship between exposure to ads and drinking levels. “The exposure-consumption relationship was particularly strong among those with 300 or more adstock units of exposure,” the researchers said. “There were fewer youth with these higher levels of advertising exposure, but they consumed a disproportionately large amount of the alcohol consumed by the entire youth sample.” The research team noted that while alcohol advertising has been linked with youths’ brand choices in past studies, alcohol marketing remains self-regulated by the industry. Manufacturers have guidelines saying that ads should be limited to media that have a mostly adult audience. But alcohol companies don’t always follow their own guidelines, and there is no penalty for violations. The current study confirms that under-21 audiences are seeing plenty of alcohol ads, the authors said. “Although previous studies have shown that exposure to advertising is related to which brands underage youths drink, few studies have assessed whether the quantity of exposure is associated with the total quantity of alcohol consumed by these youths,” said lead author Timothy Naimi, associate professor of community health sciences and of medicine at BUSM, and a physician at Boston Medical Center. Michael Siegel, the study’s co-principal investigator and professor of community health sciences, said the study suggests that advertising influences “how much kids drink, not just what they drink. “This has important implications because we know that the amount of alcohol consumption is associated with increased risks of harm, including motor vehicle fatalities, suicide and violence. We believe these findings should prompt a reevaluation of the industry’s self-regulatory framework, in order to reduce advertising exposure among underage youth,” he said. Among study participants, the median number of drinks consumed in the past 30 days was five. The average number of drinks consumed increased from 14 to 33 per month as advertising exposure increased from zero to 300 adstock units. For participants exposed to 300 or more adstock units, per-person consumption skyrocketed from 33 drinks to more than 200 drinks consumed in the past 30 days. The authors said they hoped the study would prompt research that further examines the exposure-consumption relationship, especially among youths who have high exposure to ads on TV and in other media. Naimi said that, for parents, the findings offer extra motivation to curb kids’ time in front of the TV, particularly for programming with alcohol advertising. In general, experts recommend that children and teenagers spend a limited amount of time each day in front of a “screen”—whether a TV, computer, or phone. “This could be yet another reason to limit screen time,” Naimi said. Co-authors on the study were: William DeJong, professor of community health sciences; David Jernigan of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; and Craig Ross of Fiorente Media, Inc., also research assistant professor of epidemiology at SPH. The above is a verbatim copy of the press release by Boston University Medical Campus Full text: http://www.jsad.com/doi/abs/10.15288/jsad.2016.77.723 The article has been included in our online databases of scientific publications: http://eucam.info/2016/09/12/naimi-et-al-2016/

In recent years the Dutch government gave  a € 6.6 million grant to Heineken for so-called development aid in Africa. Prime Minister Rutte praised Heineken in September 2015 during a speech to the UN, because of the purchase of beer barley from local farmers in Africa.

Research journalists of the Dutch television-program Zembla studied the impact of the € 1.3 million grant Heineken received from the Dutch government for the acquisition of two state breweries in Ethiopia.

Who benefited? The advantage for Heineken is obvious: net sales rose sharply and the company now controls 30% of the Ethiopian beer market. But that does not apply to the Ethiopian government: Heineken currently pays - despite increased sales - less income tax than before the acquisition in 2011. In addition, Heineken also paid much less wage tax. That's because since the acquisition of the two breweries, 699 Ethiopians were fired by Heineken.

The impact on poverty in the country and on the beer barley farmers who participate is unclear. The latter have a higher yield and a better price, but may only supply the breweries of Heineken. An expert of the IMF judges the results of the Dutch policy as a lose-lose-win situation. A loss for the Ethiopian treasury, a loss for the personnel of the breweries and a win for Heineken.

Source: Zembla.vara.nl via our colleagues at STAP the Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy.
minimum pricing Alcohol-content-based taxation or minimum unit pricing (MUP) are both predicted to reduce health inequalities more than taxation based on product value (ad valorem taxes) or alcohol tax increases under the current system (excise duty plus value added tax) in England, according to research published this week in PLOS Medicine. Petra Meier of the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom, and colleagues, used the Sheffield Alcohol Policy Model (SAPM), to estimate how price changes would affect individual-level alcohol consumption and how consumption changes affect the illnesses and deaths associated with 43 alcohol-attributable conditions. Professor Meier and colleagues used the SAPM to simulate the impact of four different alcohol taxation and pricing policies: increasing tax under the current system, value-based taxation, alcohol-content-based taxation, and minimum unit pricing, each scaled to produce the same population-wide 4.3% decrease in alcohol-related mortality. They found that impacts of policy changes on moderate drinkers were small, regardless of socioeconomic group. However, among heavy drinkers, alcohol-content-based taxation and MUP were predicted to cause greater decreases in alcohol-attributable mortality among lower income groups (6.1% and 7.8% for alcohol-content-based taxation and MUP), compared to mortality decreases under the current policy or ad valorem taxes (of 3.2% and 2.9%, respectively). Among heavy drinkers in the highest socioeconomic group the effects on mortality rates were small (-1.3%, -1.4%, +0.2%, and +0.8% for increases in current duty rates, ad valorem tax, alcohol-content-based taxation and MUP, respectively). Due to an absence of evidence, the researchers were not able to measure the impact of any tax avoidance, which could potentially vary between the policies. However, the authors conclude that "If achieving reductions in health inequalities is a priority, then the two policy options that target cheap, high-strength alcohol -- minimum unit pricing and volumetric taxation -- outperform ad valorem taxation and increasing the current UK tax." They also note the added value of specifically decreasing heavy drinking behaviour: "Importantly, unlike other tax options, these two policies target harmful drinking without at the same time targeting those in poorer population groups who do not engage in harmful drinking behaviour."   The above is a copy of the press release found on EUREKALERT, for the free full text article in PLOS One, please follow this link>>
Author: Nathan Critchlow, Crawford Moodie, Linda Bauld, Adrian Bonner & Gerard Hastings Title: Awareness of, and participation with, digital alcohol marketing, and the association with frequency of high episodic drinking among young adults Journal: Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy (2015): 1-9 AbstractOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Aims: To explore the association between awareness of traditional and digital marketing, participation with digital marketing and young adults’ frequency of high episodic drinking  (HED). Methods: An online cross-sectional survey of 18–25 year olds (n = 405) measured awareness of nine traditional marketing channels, and awareness of, and participation with, 11 digital marketing channels. HED was measured using the final item from the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test – Consumption (AUDIT-C). Results: Respondents, on average, were aware of alcohol being marketed through 4.30 traditional and 6.23 digital marketing channels, and had participated with marketing through 2.34 digital channels. Respondents who reported HED on at least a weekly basis reported the most awareness of, and participation with, alcohol marketing. Those who reported never engaging in HED, or doing so less than monthly, reported the lowest. Significant associations were found between awareness of, and participation with, traditional and digital alcohol marketing and increased frequency of HED. Conclusions: That digital marketing was more successful than traditional in reaching young adults, and had a stronger association with increased frequency of HED, highlights the dynamic nature of marketing communications and the need for further research to fully understand young people’s experience with digital marketing.
alc taxation Since the end of August 2015, the European Commission has held a public consultation to determine whether and how the directive around taxes on alcoholic beverages should be adopted to reduce fraud and abuse. The consultation is closing November 27th. The consultation of the Committee is part of the "Better Regulation" agenda, through which the EU wants to simplify rules and regulations to reduce administrative costs and improve consumer protection. The existing directive on the harmonization of the Alcohol Excise Structures Directive (92/83/EEC) has been around for more than 20 years, and categorizes alcoholic products in a way that all member states use the same definitions. In addition, it prescribes a method to calculate excise duties and determine which products qualify for reduced rates or exemptions. Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs said: "Current rules on the classification and excise structure of alcoholic beverages can be open to interpretation, so that some producers can exploit tax loopholes by producing and selling counterfeit alcohol. By taking part in this public consultation, interested parties and consumers can have a real impact on reducing fraud in this area. We also want to look at ways to lighten the burden for our smaller producers." Several NGOs in the alcohol field have informed the Commission that the current classification of categories for alcoholic beverages is unclear. Additionally, they have argued that reduced rates and exemptions are undesirable from a health point of view. STAP, the Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy, argues that simplification of the regulatory classifications can be achieved by moving to a progressive system of taxation based on the alcoholic content. In this classification, the higher the alcoholic content, the higher the rate per volume percentage of alcohol. This system is clear and easy to implement. For more information on the relation between alcohol taxation and premature mortality, please read this short article from The Lancet>> For more information on the consultation and excise duties on alcohol, click here>> For the reaction by STAP on the public consultation, please look here>> For the more international reaction from our friends at IOGT-NTO and ACTIVE, please look here>> For the consultation itself, please click here>>