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, will look at what's going on in-market to promote a responsible role for alcohol in society.

Compensation. The Czech Government has prepared plans to compensate retailers who have to dispose of legally obtained alcohol after the deaths linked to the consumption of counterfeit alcohol adulterated with methanol. Retailers unable to obtain new identity stamps over the next 60 days will be required to dispose of spirits, which may total between 3m and 4m litres.

The Czech Government’s recent ban on distilled spirits with more than 20% abv after the deaths reportedly did not include beverages made in home-based distilleries. A Czech distillers’ union spokesperson said that 10m litres of beverages with an abv of 50% are produced annually in 487 small home distilleries, typically costing US$10 per litre.

Cyclists. In Slovakia, the Civil Defense and Security Committee hasrejected legislative amendments that would permit a legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of 0.5 mg/ml for cyclists, compared to a zero limit for motorists. Committee Chairman Jaroslav Baška described the Most-Hid party’s draft legislation as an “unnecessary temptation for cyclists as road users”, noting that serious road traffic crashes involving cyclists have increased by approximately 50% since 2010.

On the same front, Russia may have alcohol-related restrictions on the way soon. State Duma Deputies have reportedly submitted legislative amendments introducing fines for alcohol-impaired cycling. Cyclists and moped riders in a “drunken state” would be liable to an administrative fine of between RUB3,000 (US$95) and RUB5,000.

Self-regulation. The World Federation of Advertisers has launched the European Interactive Digital Advertising Alliance (EDAA), a self-regulatory programme for online behavioural advertising generally across Europe. The EDAA programme will use an icon that connects Internet users to a website providing information about online behavioural advertising and allows them the option of restricting its usage.

The more specific topic of alcohol marketing and advertising was one of the key issues addressed at the international conference Global Actions: Initiatives to Reduce Harmful Drinking, where Pernod Ricard CEO Pierre Pringuet announced a collective set of commitments by the CEOs of 13 of the world’s leading beer, wine, and spirits producers. The CEO commitments include ten targeted actions over the next five years in five key areas, including responsible marketing and consumer information, building on the signatory companies’ longstanding efforts to reduce the harmful use of alcohol.

Stadiums. Officials from the Swiss Police Director Conference (KKJPD) have called for a ban on alcohol consumption in designated football and ice hockey stadiums. While alcohol sales are currently permitted in most sports stadiums, the measures would restrict sales of beer to a maximum abv of 3%, and ban sales completely at games deemed potentially risky. 

Alcohol consumption at sporting events has received a great deal of attention in the run-up to the World Cup in Brazil in 2014, and the Irish Government has also been taking a look at alcohol sponsorship in sports. Plans currently under consideration could permit alcohol sponsorship of sporting events until 2020. Some ministers have expressed objections that a gradual phasing-out period ending in 2016 would be too soon, however, other ministers said that 2020 is not soon enough to positively impact youth.

For life. China’s Ministry of Public Security has announced newregulations that will ban from driving for life bus and truck drivers found guilty of drink driving or causing fatal road traffic crashes. According to the Ministry, coaches or trucks were involved in 70% of all road traffic crashes between 2009 and 2011 that resulted in the deaths of ten or more people.

In the US, Kentucky officials have introduced an alternative method to punish less severe drink driving offenses. 'DUI Hotel' provides first-time drink-driving offenders with educational programmes and treatment sessions over three days and three nights in area hotels instead of 72 hours in jail. Approximately 550 drink-driving offenders completed the DUI Alternative Jail Program in 2011.

Edited out. In India, the Maharashtra State Government has announced plans to ban alcohol consumption and smoking in films. Minister Sachin Ahir said that depictions of drinking alcohol and smoking in films has a negative impact on youth behaviours, and added that if a film's plot “requires such scenes, cigarette and alcohol should be blurred or edited".

There is little consensus on how depictions of alcohol consumption influence youth behaviour. Much of the research has looked at the relationships between marketing and alcohol consumption. Some longitudinal research shows a modest relationship between exposure to marketing and drinking among youth, however, the most important factors in shaping drinking behaviour among youth have been identified as parents and peers.

No kiosks. The Russian Government has passed legislative amendments prohibiting beer sales from shops located at railway stations, on trains, and at beaches. All beer sales are now restricted to permanent, stationary retail premises. Beer sales from temporary retail premises such as kiosks and tents have already been prohibited by separate legislation, and sales of other alcohol beverages from temporary premises were prohibited as of 1 July.

Temporary stands selling alcohol beverages have also come under scrutiny in South Korea. Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS) in South Korea has outlined plans to ban alcohol sales during university festivals to limit drinking on campus, and may reduce allocations of scholarships for departments that violate the ban. HUFS festivals previously had student-run stands selling alcohol and snacks that would raise money for charities or school activities.

Labeled. Brazilian MP Paul Foletto has submitted a House Bill that would require alcohol producers to include images of road traffic crashes on alcohol products to help reduce drink driving in the country. The proposal is intended to build on an existing policy that includes mandatory text on labels discouraging excessive alcohol consumption.

Alcohol beverage labeling has also been an area of recent activity in Australia, where the Winemakers’ Federation has said that it will provide 2,500 winemakers free access to logos and other labeling materials with health warnings. The effort will also include awareness outreach at retail locations in partnership with DrinkWise Australia, with the organisation providing further information on its website about responsible drinking.

And finally...

Informal. Russian drivers have been posting photographs online of an informal roadside drink-driving prevention sign of unknown origin in Moscow. One driver posting a picture of the sign to the Livejournal website commented: “It’s clear that it’s homemade, but nevertheless it’s much more efficient than the boring social ads we find across the streets of our city.” The banner carries the message “We are tired of warning you. Don't [expletive deleted] drink & drive” and is signed “Ministry of Health”.

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 organization in Special Consultative Status.

Click here to learn more about ICAP.