Since November 2019, Ireland has restricted alcohol advertising at the cinema and outdoors (e.g., near schools) and banned alcohol advertising on public transport. Although awareness of such advertising had decreased 1 year after the restrictions, measures to limit COVID-19 transmission complicated interpretation. We examined (a) changes in awareness 2 years after restrictions, when COVID-19 mitigation measures had eased, and (b) how changes in Ireland compared with Northern Ireland, where the restrictions did not apply.
Repeat cross-sectional surveys were conducted with adults recruited from nonprobability online panels, with three waves in Ireland (October 2019 [before restrictions] and October 2020/2021 [after restrictions]; n = 3,029) and two in Northern Ireland (October 2020/2021; n = 1,011). Participants self-reported past-month awareness of 13 alcohol marketing activities, including public transport, cinema, and outdoor advertising (coded as any past-month awareness, no awareness, or not sure).
In Ireland, the odds of reporting no past-month awareness (vs. any) were higher in both 2021 and 2020 versus 2019 for all restricted advertising activities (e.g., 2021 vs. 2019 for public transport: adjusted OR = 1.88, 95% CI [1.53, 2.32]). Interactions between wave and jurisdiction indicated that in 2021, compared with 2020, the odds of reporting no past-month awareness of public transport and cinema advertising (vs. any) were higher in Ireland than in Northern Ireland, despite increased opportunities for exposure in both jurisdictions through eased pandemic mitigation measures. There was no interaction for outdoor advertising, suggesting between-wave trends did not differ by jurisdiction.
Ireland’s restrictions have reduced past-month awareness of alcohol advertising at the cinema and on public transport but not outdoors. Continued monitoring is required.