Home > Effective alcohol policies are associated with reduced consumption among demographic groups who drink heavily.

Casswell, Sally and Huckle, Taisia and Parker, Karl and Graydon-Guy, Thomas and Leung, June and Parry, Charles and Torun, Perihan and Sengee, Gantuya and Pham, Cuong and Gray-Phillip, Gaile and Callinan, Sarah and Chaiyasong, Surasak and MacKintosh, Anne Marie and Meier, Petra and Randerson, Steve (2023) Effective alcohol policies are associated with reduced consumption among demographic groups who drink heavily. Alcohol: Clinical and Experimental Research, 47, (4), pp. 786-795. doi: 10.1111/acer.15030.

External website: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/acer.1...

BACKGROUND: Alcohol policies stand out among other noncommunicable disease-relevant policies for the lack of uptake. Composite indicators have been developed to measure the effects of alcohol control policy. We investigated whether drinking patterns among demographic groups from general population samples of drinkers from diverse countries are associated with alcohol control policy as measured by the International Alcohol Control (IAC) Policy Index.

METHODS: Representative samples of adult drinkers from 10 countries (five high-income and five middle-income) were surveyed about alcohol consumption, using beverage and location-specific questions.

MEASUREMENTS: The IAC Policy Index was analyzed with frequency, typical occasion quantity, and volume consumed. Analyses used mixed models that included interactions between country IAC Policy Index score and age group, gender, and education level.

FINDINGS: Each increase in IAC policy index score (reflecting more effective alcohol policy) was associated with a 13.9% decrease in drinking frequency and a 16.5% decrease in volume. With each increase in IAC Policy Index score, both genders decreased for all three measures, but men less so than women. Women decreased their typical occasion quantity by 1.2%, frequency by 3.1% and total volume by 4.2% compared to men. Low and mid-education groups decreased their typical occasion quantity by 2.6% and 1.6%, respectively, compared to high education, while for drinking frequency the low education group increased by 7.0%. There was an overall effect of age, with 18-19 and 20-24-year-olds showing the largest decreases in typical occasion quantity with increasing IAC policy index score.

CONCLUSIONS: The IAC Policy Index, reflecting four effective policies, was associated with volume and frequency of drinking across 10 diverse countries. Each increase in the IAC Policy Index was associated with lower typical quantities consumed among groups reporting heavy drinking: young adults and less well-educated. There is value in implementing such alcohol policies and a need to accelerate their uptake globally.

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