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.

Enforced. The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) has announced that it will enforce Russia’s ban on online alcohol advertisements across all Internet domains, not just on Russian domains such as .ru and .su. Advertising on Russian-language websites outside of Russia will be included in the ban, as “the information on these pages is intended for consumers in Russia”, the FAS has been cited as saying.

In South Korea, the Health Ministry is also addressing internet-based alcohol advertisements by proposing revisions to the National Health Promotion Law, extending restrictions on television alcohol advertisements to digital multimedia broadcasting, internet protocol (IP) television, and the internet. In addition, the revisions would ban alcohol sales and consumption on university campuses and medical or youth facilities.

Alcolocked. Figures from the Swedish Transport Agency show that more drink driving offenders are choosing to install breath alcohol interlock ignition devices, or alcolocks, in their vehicles. So far in 2012, out of 4,000 drink driving offenders, around one-third selected installing interlock devices instead of the alternative penalty of not driving for one year.

Other national governments continue to step up their efforts to address drink driving. In India, Hyderabad traffic police are creating a database of repeat drink driving offenders to keep track of over 9,000 registered cases. Once completed, the database will be accessible on hand-held devices carried by traffic officials. A traffic spokesperson also said that efforts are underway to impose stronger punishments for repeat offenders.

Baseline. A baseline survey coordinated by ICAP and the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) shows that about 70% of petroleum tanker drivers in the cities of Lagos and Abuja do not know the legal limit for drink driving. The survey also reveals that around 90% of commercial bus drivers in Abuja believe there is "little to no chance" of being caught by officials for drink driving. In addition to questionnaire surveys, researchers conducted face-to-face interviews and breath alcohol tests to find their results.

Initiatives like the baseline survey in Nigeria will be featured as part of The ICAP's Global Actions: Initiatives to Reduce Harmful Drinking international conference in the US next month. On the second day of the event, break-out sessions on several 'Global Actions on Harmful Drinking' initiatives in drink driving, self-regulation of advertising, and non-commercial alcohol will feature expert panel discussions from Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe.

Choice. In Spain, Andalusian motorists are increasingly opting for non-alcohol beer before driving, according to a recent study. Around 63% of the Andalusian motorists polled said that they had selected non-alcohol beer on occasions when they would be driving, 71% of whom described it as “an excellent choice”.

Designated driver programmes or safe-ride services can also be effective at improving road safety in addition to programmes designed to reduce blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels in drivers. These interventions can provide incentives to patrons willing to be designated drivers, along with collaborations with community organisations or taxi services for safe rides home.

Adventurous. The New Zealand Government is considering legislation to increase the responsibilities of adventure tour operators to prevent alcohol consumption or drug use by their staff. Operators would be required to monitor and manage alcohol- or drug-related safety risks, and audits will first focus on operators providing the most high-risk activities.

Alcohol and the workplace was also the subject of a recent Drinkaware survey in the UK that saw 78% of 18 to 24-year-old respondents say they find it acceptable to engage in excessive alcohol consumption in front of colleagues, but that 61% had later regretted becoming intoxicated. In addition, 54% have admitted to being hungover at work at least once in the past month.

Proof. Lithuanian retail chain Maxima has faced criticism from customers for requiring proof of age before purchasing alcohol regardless of the customer’s apparent age. A Maxima spokesperson said that the chain had launched the underage youth consumption prevention campaign timed for the beginning of the school year to raise awareness of underage sales.

While Maxima faced some criticism for consistently asking for identification, some South Korean supermarkets did not. Seoul Metropolitan Government officials recently conducted tests that showed around 65% of Seoul supermarkets are selling beverage alcohol to underage youth. Officials asked high school and college students to attempt to purchase alcohol at 63 prominent supermarkets in the city, and found that 53.4% of high school students were not asked to show identification and successfully completed an alcohol purchase.

BYOB. Alcohol sales will be banned for the first time during Thailand’s annual Phuket Good Taste Food Festival. The ban is part of broader efforts to reduce alcohol-related anti-social behaviour during the event. However, visitors will be permitted to bring their own alcohol beverages but will not be allowed to consume them in designated alcohol-free areas.

In Brazil, however, the Rio de Janeiro Football Federation (Ferj) has announced that alcohol may be served within stadiums during the Campeonato Carioca Rio state soccer championship event in 2013. Ferj officials said that the state’s biggest clubs support revoking the 1998 ban on alcohol, and legislation allowing beer sales during the World Cup In Brazil in 2014 had introduced a precedent.

Hygiene. Colognes and mouthwashes containing alcohol could account for almost 7% of the Lithuanian alcohol market. An alcohol association official said that sales of inexpensive, fruit-flavoured mouthwashes with an abv as high as 60% have increased since 2007, saying that it “cannot be based on the growing habit to take care of oral hygiene."

Although manufacturers in many jurisdictions deliberately include compounds to discourage ingestion, the consumption of surrogate alcohols like Cologne or mouthwash has been reported among problem drinkers of lower socio-economic status. Some consumers add surrogate alcohols into home-produced drinks to increase beverage strength, to change taste, or to speed up fermentation.

And, finally…

Egyptian Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou is reported to be considering a review of current tourism industry efforts following the introduction of new leadership in the country. According to reports, some Islamic officials have expressed objections to certain swimwear and other clothing worn on public beaches, and have said that they oppose the sale of beverage alcohol to tourists visiting the country. Zaazou said that, despite the country’s leadership transition, tourism is expected to increase from an estimated 12m visitors in 2012 to 15m in 2013, and to attract around 30m tourists by 2020.

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.