Authors: Ernesta Paukštė, Vaida Liutkutė, Mindaugas Štelemėkas, Nijolė Goštautaitė Midttun and Aurelijus Veryga
Title: Overturn of the proposed alcohol advertising ban in Lithuania
Journal: Addiction. Volume 109, Issue 5, pages 711–719, May 2014
Background: In response to the dramatic increase in alcohol-related problems in Lithuania, policy measures, including alcohol advertising and availability restrictions combined with taxation increase, were implemented in 2007–08. Simultaneously, a full alcohol advertising ban was adopted to take effect from 1 January 2012. Therefore, the alcohol industry responded with extensive lobbying aiming to revoke this ban, and ultimately they succeeded at the end of December 2011.
Aim: To document and analyse actions of stakeholders and events during the alcohol advertising ban cancellation process in Lithuania.
Methods: Policy analysis includes a development of event time-line, description of key stakeholders’ actions and a review of policy context.
Findings: The alcohol industry in Lithuania used similar tactics as the tobacco industry globally, such as creating strong and diverse opposing groups. The industry successfully exerted pressure to change alcohol control legislation, while non-governmental organizations had the important role of a watchdog, blunting industry’s efforts. Unequal power distribution made it difficult to withstand combined local and international lobbying to cancel the ban.
Conclusion: Given the global nature of the alcohol industry, there is a need for international regulation to limit the influence of vested interests on national lawmaking.