Home > The Public Health (Alcohol) Act: spatial issues and glaring gaps.

Houghton, Frank and McInerney, Derek (2020) The Public Health (Alcohol) Act: spatial issues and glaring gaps. Irish Geography, 53, (2), DOI: 10.2014/igj.v53i2.1423.

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This short commentary is primary concerned with youth exposure to alcohol advertising outdoors. However, it must also be noted that significant exposure to such advertising and products also occurs inside, particularly in supermarket settings (Jones et al., 2012; Chambers et al., 2017; McBride-Henry et al., 2020;). The use of GPS and wearable cameras in innovative research with children in recent years has significantly enabled such research, which has amply established the importance of such exposures (Chambers et al., 2017, 2018). Alcohol consumption also involves what may be termed a complex spatiality. Youth consumption of alcohol in the family home and under parental guidance may be considered ‘safe’, whereas unsupervised youth consumption in public consumption may be seen as linked to aggression, violence, and disorder (Jayne et al., 2012).

The negative impact of alcohol on Irish society necessitates that the current opportunity to curtail this problem is not missed, as has happened in the past. (Houghton, 2010). Tackling youth and problematic alcohol use and misuse requires a robust response. The current Public Health (Alcohol) Act is a valuable start but contains a number of serious deficiencies that must be remedied. Past examples of equivocation by Government on this issue are unacceptable (Houghton, 2012, 2013). Deficits in this legislation must be addressed through amendments as forthcoming sections are brought into force.

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