Maria Margarida Paixao & Melissa Mialon; Help or Hindrance? The Alcohol Industry and Alcohol Control in Portugal; Int. J. of Environmental Research and Public Health (2019).;

Abstract: The influence of the alcohol industry, also known as “corporate political activity” (CPA), is documented as one of the main barriers in implementing effective alcohol control policies. In Portugal, despite an alcohol consumption above the European average, alcohol control does not feature in the current National Health Plan. The present research aimed to identify and describe the CPA of the alcohol industry in Portugal. Publicly-available data published between January 2018 and April 2019 was extracted from the main websites and social media accounts of alcohol industry trade associations, charities funded by the industry, government, and media. A “Policy Dystopia” framework, used to describe the CPA strategies of the tobacco industry, was adapted and used to perform a qualitative thematic analysis. Both instrumental and discursive strategies were found. The industry works in partnership with health authorities, belonging to the national task force responsible for planning alcohol control policies. Additionally, it emphasizes the role alcohol plays in Portuguese culture as a way to disregard evidence on control policies from other countries. This paper presents the first description of CPA by the alcohol industry in Portugal and provides evidence for the adoption of stricter control policies in the country.

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