Every month, the International Center for Alcohol Policies looks at responsible drinking measures around the world

Every month, the International Center for Alcohol Policies looks at responsible drinking measures around the world

Once a month, the International Center for Alcohol Policies (ICAP), which covers alcohol policies worldwide, looks at what's going on in-market to promote a responsible role for alcohol in society.

Grocery. The British Columbia Government has announced plans for the roll-out of alcohol sales in grocery stores throughout the Canadian province. BC-made wines certified by the BC Vintners Quality Alliance may be displayed and sold alongside other groceries within a store’s general retail space, while wines produced outside of BC, as well as beer and distilled spirits, must be kept in a partitioned “store within a store” with a separate checkout area. Officials are reportedly considering introducing a similar exception for BC-produced craft beer.

The Florida State House of Representatives is considering legislation that would permit grocery stores and other big box retailers to sell distilled spirits. Current regulations permit beer and wine sales in grocery stores, but spirits sales are restricted to separate retail outlets. Opponents to the legislation have expressed concern that small retailers will be unable to compete with large chain grocery stores and that underage youth could more easily purchase or shoplift spirits in a larger store. 

Restriction. Armenia’s National Assembly is considering draft legislation that will restrict televised and online alcohol advertisements to between the hours of 2200 and 0600. The amendments to the Law on Advertising will restrict ads for beverages with an abv of 20% or more in both media, with the exception of domestically-produced brandy, which would not face any restrictions on economic grounds.

The Turkish Government has announced its intention to penalise social media users suspected of advertising alcohol brands. Tobacco and Alcohol Market Regulatory Authority (TAPDK) will shortly begin fining users and brands promoting alcohol to consumers through posts in these media. Private users posting personal pictures of alcohol brands on social media sites will reportedly not be fined, but paid posts will be treated as marketing and fined accordingly.

Fake. Approximately 11% of Dutch underage drinkers report using fake age verifying identification in the past six months when going out at night, according to a recent survey. More than half of those respondents reported making the forgery themselves through advice from friends or the Internet. Approximately 20% of those youth had also used a friend’s ID in the preceding six months.

In the US, Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control has reported that thousands of counterfeit driver’s licences, sophisticated enough to pass scanning devices and convince law enforcement officials, are being used by underage youth to purchase alcohol in the Washington, D.C. area. Officials reportedly suspect the licences were acquired through online overseas vendors that have manufactured extremely detailed licenses selling for approximately US$150.

Milestone. The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has announced the release of its Framework for Responsible Marketing Communications of Alcohol, which provides companies and self-regulatory groups with guidelines for international best practices. The global resource can also be the basis for development of self-regulatory rules for beverage alcohol marketing in regions where no voluntary regulations are currently in place. 

ICAP has been strongly supportive of the ICC’s development of the framework and will continue to work closely with ICC and other partners during the framework’s implementation. Marketing self-regulatory codes are an important demonstration of alcohol producers’ commitment to ensuring marketing communications are socially responsible, and of their awareness that society expects their marketing to be legal, truthful, honest, and consistent with prevailing cultural standards of good taste.

Station. Poland’s Ministry of Infrastructure and Development has proposed amendments that would permit alcohol beverages to be sold at the country's railway stations. Current regulations prohibit any sales of alcohol in station buildings. The change would help with efforts to increase train stations’ revenues by attracting more businesses to set up in them, as several stations around Poland operate at a financial loss.

In Switzerland, the National Council has rejected draft legislation that would have restricted the late-night consumption of alcohol on public transport. The legislation was part of efforts to reduce antisocial behaviour and littering by prohibiting consumption between the hours of 2100 and 0800 on buses and trains or in stations. Councilors thought the proposal would have negatively impacted the fundamental rights of the public, as well as creating additional cost and staffing issues for transport operators.

Abstinence. The Indian state of Kerala’s Health Department has launched an anti-alcohol campaign awarding cash to Chemmaruthi residents who have never consumed alcohol throughout their lives. To date, 10 village members have been selected to receive awards of INR1,000 (US$16.50) each after officials conducted background checks confirming their alcohol abstinence.

A recent Ministry of Health study, 'Health and Nutrition in Turkey', claims that 84.9% of Turks abstain from alcohol consumption. The report also indicated that Turks living in rural areas tend to consume more alcohol than those in urban areas. The Ministry reportedly polled 44,607 participants during the survey, which also focused on other areas of health and lifestyle.

Monitoring. The Bangkok North Municipal Court has announced it will begin ordering convicted drink drivers and illegal street racers to wear electronic monitoring (EM) devices with GPS tracking. Officials said the ankle bracelet EM devices could be used as a replacement for sentencing offenders with prison terms and public service, and would assist the Department of Probation in monitoring offenders and reducing recidivism.

Poland’s Ministry of Infrastructure and Development has been tasked with developing a compulsory interlock device policy, which is also expected to apply to all public transit vehicles. In January, following a series of high-profile drink driving-related crashes, Prime Minister Donald Tusk proposed that all Polish drivers be required to keep alcohol breath testing devices in their vehicles, but that initial plan reportedly received widespread criticism.

Youth. Officials in Otago, New Zealand have recently observed fewer large parties where underage youth consume alcohol. Police attributed the decrease to amendments to New Zealand’s Sale and Supply of Liquor Act, which now imposes fines of up to NZD2,000 (US$1,700) on adults who supply alcohol beverages to underage youth without obtaining the “express consent” of their parents.

In Israel, religious youth organisation Ariel called upon other group leaders to discourage alcohol intoxication and firecrackers during the Jewish holiday Purim. Drinking to excess and lighting firecrackers during the holiday have become increasingly popular practices among religious youth in recent years, behaviors which some maintain are consistent with interpretations of the Talmud.

And finally,

Smell test. The Madrid City Council has agreed to equip police enforcing public drinking bans with more sophisticated methods for detecting alcohol in beverages. Spanish Ombudsman Soledad Becerril said she received “numerous complaints” from people who disputed fines they had received in Madrid for public alcohol consumption, noting that officers usually evaluate drinks through a basic smell test, without performing further verification.

The International Center for Alcohol Policies (ICAP) is a not-for-profit organisation supported by major international producers of beverage alcohol. Established in 1995, ICAP’s mission is to promote understanding of the role of alcohol in society and to help reduce harmful drinking worldwide. ICAP’s efforts to foster dialogue and partnerships in the alcohol policy field are shaped by its commitment to pragmatic and feasible solutions to reducing harm that can be tailored to local and cultural considerations and needs. ICAP has been recognised by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC) as a non-governmental organisation in Special Consultative Status.

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