Round-Up - The ICAP Digest - February

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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.


Banned. In Turkey, the Tobacco and Alcohol Market Regulatory Authority (TAPDD) has prohibited alcohol sales in police buildings. TAPDD is reportedly introducing the ban in the context of recent regulations prohibiting the sale of alcohol in universities and other educational establishments, as police buildings also have training facilities on the premises.

Egyptian officials are also further restricting alcohol sales. New Urban Communities Authority has announced that government officials are expected to stop issuing licenses to sell alcohol in stores in certain urban areas. The new measure will be enforced in satellite cities and districts near densely-populated centres, and liquor stores currently operating in the designated areas will not be permitted to renew their licenses.

Militarised. Texas State Representative J.M. Lozano has introduced a measure that would lower the legal drinking age to 18 years old for active members of the US military. The proposal would amend state law to stipulate that a person at least 18 years old on active duty can legally purchase beer, wine, and distilled spirits at bars and restaurants as well as off-premise retail outlets. 

Thai officials are also looking at alcohol consumption by military personnel. The Public Health Ministry and Defense Ministry are campaigning to ban alcohol from all military camps in Thailand. Officials including Permanent Secretary for Public Health Ministry Narong Sahametapat and representatives from the Royal Thai Army, Royal Air Forces, and Royal Thai Navy have signed an agreement to increase control of alcohol in military camps. The ministries hope these efforts will encourage Thai soldiers to be role models for the country and avoid harmful drinking.

Engagement. In a paper addressing health in the post-2015 development agenda, ICAP president Marcus Grant and deputy president Marjana Martinic write that, when more inclusive stakeholder engagement is used to address harmful drinking, the shared responsibility can bring more resources to help reduce alcohol-related health issues. Although the primary perspective in developing alcohol regulations is to reduce overall exposure to alcohol through limiting availability, increased taxation, and advertising restrictions, Grant and Martinic recommended examining alcohol-related risk factors within their particular social, cultural, and economic context, and engaging non-traditional stakeholders to take action to improve health outcomes.

As part of efforts to examine alcohol consumption within relevant cultural and economic context, ICAP hosted a briefing earlier this month at the European Parliament that explored research from Estonia, Latvia, and Poland focused on the illicit alcohol market’s national impacts as well as cross-border implications across the EU. “In the area of potentially dangerous black market alcohol, the interests of government, law enforcement, public health, and industry converge,” said Martinic. “Developing smart policies and interventions around noncommercial alcohol will require improved enforcement, new approaches, and the engagement of a range of stakeholders.”

Inspected. Indonesia’s Mataram Drug and Food Monitoring Agency (BPOM) recently conducted a series of inspections in Gili Trawangan and found imported vodka labeled 'Mansion House' to be contaminated with methanol. BPOM officials said that the vodka was counterfeit and did not have the necessary legal permits for distribution. The inspections were part of ongoing efforts to investigate the death of an Australian tourist, who allegedly died after drinking contaminated alcohol in Gili Trawangan in January.

The effects of the series of deaths connected to the consumption of counterfeit beverages adulterated with methanol in Czech in late 2012 are reportedly still being felt by the spirits sector in the country. Consumers are reportedly cautious in purchasing distilled spirits from stores and supermarkets, with suspicion that counterfeit beverages are still in circulation being reported as a significant factor

Loopholes. Ukrainian local television channels are reportedly using loopholes to bypass legislation prohibiting alcohol advertisements between the hours of 0600 and 2100. Programme sponsorship by alcohol brands is not specifically prohibited under current law, including the use of brand names and logos, and some alcohol brands are choosing sponsorship instead of placing ads.

The Russian alcohol sector has also been bypassing prohibition on television alcohol advertisements by placing ads in foreign football stadiums during international matches involving the Russian national team. Russian television channel 'Russia 1' broadcast a friendly match played in Spain and showed images of ads for several Russian alcohol brands located in the stadium. A Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) spokesperson said that the appearance of these ads was not illegal, as the match being filmed was outside Russia’s territory and therefore not covered by the law.

Limited. Nepal's beverage alcohol and hospitality sectors are calling on the Government of Nepal to introduce a legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for drivers. Under current Nepali law, drink driving is strictly prohibited, but there is no established minimum legal BAC limit. The Nepal Liquor Manufacturers’ Association is urging the introduction of a limit, as in many other countries, encouraging officials to “think economically too and find a win-win solution for both manufacturers and the government.”

Brazilian officials are facing new challenges after the recent passage of their zero BAC limit legislation. With increasing rates of drink driving arrests, some Brazilian drivers are reportedly using an alcohol dependence drug to help them pass breath tests after consuming alcohol. The practice of drivers taking the drug Metadoxil in an attempt to reduce their blood alcohol concentration has reportedly become so widespread that many pharmacies are running out of stock.

Flights. Uzbekistan’s national airline, Uzbekistan Airways, reportedly has plans to prohibit alcohol consumption on airplanes. The Uzbek Ministry of Justice has issued an order banning passengers from consuming alcohol that they had previously purchased at a Duty Free store before boarding the airplane. In addition, using tobacco products, electronic cigarettes, and drugs are prohibited. 

Turkish Airlines has announced that it will cease serving alcohol on all domestic flights other than to six specific destinations. The airline has cited reduced demand after conducting a passenger preference survey in 2012 and will no longer stock alcohol with other refreshments as part of austerity measures. The change is reportedly proving controversial with foreign tourists.

Available. Hungary’s National Assembly is reportedly considering legislative amendments that would permit alcohol beverages to be sold in stores operated by Hungary’s national tobacco retail monopoly. Under the proposal, the stores would expand their available products to sell alcohol, energy drinks, coffee, and newspapers. If passed, the amendments could go into effect as early as May this year.

Conversely, Utah officials are asserting greater control over alcohol purchases. The Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is warning bars in the state that they are not permitted by law to offer beer samplers, citing a regulation that prohibits customers from being served more than two alcohol beverages at a time. Current Utah law allows for a maximum of 33.8 ounces of beer to be sold at a time to a single customer.

And finally,

Eagles. A Kazakhstan brewery is donating KZT2 (US$0.01) from every purchase of its limited-edition Karagandinskoye Pivo beer to help preserve and protect endangered golden eagles. Since July last year, more than KZT2.6m has been raised to support initiatives in the Sunkar Raptor Sanctuary and Institute of Zoology of Kazakhstan, according to the brewery. 

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.

Click here to learn more about ICAP.

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