Home > Reducing the Strength: a mixed methods evaluation of alcohol retailers' willingness to voluntarily reduce the availability of low cost, high strength beers and ciders in two UK local authorities.

Sumpter, Colin and McGill, Elizabeth and Dickie, Esther and Champo, Enes and Romeri, Ester and Egan, Matt [Biomed Central] . (2016) Reducing the Strength: a mixed methods evaluation of alcohol retailers' willingness to voluntarily reduce the availability of low cost, high strength beers and ciders in two UK local authorities. BMC Public Health, 16 (1)

URL: http://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/...

BACKGROUND
Reducing the Strength is an increasingly popular intervention in which local authorities ask retailers to stop selling 'super-strength' beers and ciders. The intervention cannot affect alcohol availability, nor consumption, unless retailers participate. In this paper, we ask whether and why retailers choose or refuse to self-impose restrictions on alcohol sales in this way.

METHODS
Mixed method assessment of retailers' participation in Reducing the Strength in two London (UK) local authorities. Compliance rates and the cheapest available unit of alcohol at each store were assessed. Qualitative interviews with retailer managers and staff (n = 39) explored attitudes towards the intervention and perceptions of its impacts.

RESULTS
Shops selling super-strength across both areas fell from 78 to 25 (18 % of all off-licences). The median price of the cheapest unit of alcohol available across all retailers increased from £0.29 to £0.33 and in shops that participated in Reducing the Strength it rose from £0.33 to £0.43. The project received a mixed response from retailers. Retailers said they participated to deter disruptive customers, reduce neighbourhood disruptions and to maintain a good relationship with the local authority. Reducing the Strength participants and non-participants expressed concern about its perceived financial impact due to customers shopping elsewhere for super-strength. Some felt that customers' ability to circumvent the intervention would limit its effectiveness and that a larger scale compulsory approach would be more effective.

CONCLUSIONS
Reducing the Strength can achieve high rates of voluntary compliance, reduce availability of super-strength and raise the price of the cheapest available unit of alcohol in participating shops. Questions remain over the extent to which voluntary interventions of this type can achieve wider social or health goals if non-participating shops attract customers from those who participate.


Item Type:Evidence resource
Drug Type:Alcohol
Intervention Type:AOD disorder harm reduction
Source:Biomed Central
Date:January 2016
Page Range:p. 448
Volume:16
Number:1
EndNote:View
Subjects:A Substance use, abuse, and dependence > Prevalence > Substance use behaviour > Alcohol consumption
B Substances > Alcohol
L Social psychology and related concepts > Social context > Context discouraging substance use
L Social psychology and related concepts > Physical context or place > Alcohol beverage sales outlet
VA Geographic area > Europe > United Kingdom

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