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.

Transport. Norway’s public aviation authority Avinor reportedly generated much of its 2012 revenue from the retail sale of alcohol, and some have challenged that it was inappropriate for alcohol revenue to support Avinor functions. Critics contend that improved air services should not rely on tax-free alcohol sales, and have recommended that the Norwegian Government provide for funding in the national budget.

The Polish People’s Party (PSL) has drafted legislation increasing excise duty on beer to raise funds to repair Poland’s roads. The Association of Polish Breweries has criticised the proposed increase of between 10% and 15%, which will be the first excise increase in Poland since 2009, asserting that it could lead to 50,000 job losses in the sector and the closure of eight breweries.

Early. The Cape Town City Council’s draft liquor by-law permits sparkling wine to be served with food from 0800 in the morning, but prohibits sales of other alcohol beverages until 1100. The distinction has prompted division among councilors after the council’s legal services cautioned that such a policy could be considered discriminatory, as it excludes traditional beer among other beverages.

In Scotland, Glasgow City Council has indicated that it will stop issuing early-morning licenses for pubs that serve alcohol beverages with breakfast. The measure is expected to affect 56 businesses within the council’s jurisdiction. Police and public health officials maintain that early-morning pub patrons are typically either retired or unemployed, and believe that harmful drinkers are often attracted to pub breakfasts because off-premise sales are not permitted until 1100.

Fined. The Nyandarua County Assembly in Kenya is reviewing proposed legislation that would introduce fines of up to KES2m (US$23,454) and five years’ imprisonment for those convicted of producing illicit alcohol, while vendors would be subject to a KES50,000 fine or six months in jail. The legislation would also prohibit the packaging of alcohol in sachets and other plastic containers.

The Congress of the State of Puebla in Mexico has approved legislation with increased penalties for illegal alcohol sales. Vendors of illicit and adulterated alcohol face up to three years and four-and-a-half years custodial sentence, respectively, unlicensed alcohol vendors face two years imprisonment, and retailers selling alcohol to underage youth face four-and-a-half years imprisonment. The legislation also regulates alcohol service in licensed premises including pubs and bars, bullfights, cockfights, dances, festivals, and public toilets.

Tubes. Law enforcement officials in Chandigarh, India are requiring all personnel to use new, disposable tubes on breath testing devices when testing the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels of suspected drink drivers. Officers have also been ordered to open the packets containing the disposable tubes in the presence of drivers being tested to avoid complaints.

The High Court of Namibia is reviewing an appeal of two lower-court rulings that effectively invalidated the use of breath testing devices by the country’s law enforcement agencies. In a recent hearing, the court considered arguments concerning the previous acquittal of three drink-driving prosecutions based on an alleged statutory inconsistency in a 2003 government notice, and Chief Public Prosecutor Danie Small presented new evidence that he said undermined the original judgments.

Outdoor. Amsterdam’s municipal authorities have prohibited the consumption of alcohol beverages in outdoor public places in the city centre. The ban extends through the Dam Square, the Red Light District, Jordaan, and Waterlooplein areas, and members of the public breaching the regulation face a EUR90 (US$122) fine. The ban will be reviewed in March, and is intended to reduce anti-social behaviour in the city.

In the US, proposed legislation introduced to the Ohio Senate would allow eligible municipalities to establish up to three outdoor entertainment districts where patrons would be exempt from open container laws. Only those Ohio cities and towns with populations greater than 50,000 would be eligible to designate such districts, and Senate Bill 116 would prohibit the public consumption of alcohol beverages purchased outside of district boundaries. 

Public houses. Recent research in the UK suggests that traditional public houses may serve as venues for responsible drinking and social interaction by young adults. Researchers from the University of Westminster and Newcastle University, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, investigated youth drinking culture, legislative changes, and the decline of the traditional English 'pub'. While acknowledging the adverse effects of heavy drinking, the researchers suggest that local planning systems should create a distinction between different licensed premises, supporting those that promote responsible drinking.

Modifying the environment that young adults drink in can help to discourage intoxication and disruptive behaviours by reducing cues in the environment that can exacerbate these behaviours. Some interventions include having clean, attractive, and well-maintained premises and restrooms, providing live entertainment, and creating a physical space that allows easy access to the bar or that provides sitting areas without causing crowding.

Penalty. A Belarus court has confiscated a vehicle involved in a repeat drink driving offence, the first application of recently-enacted legislation. The car will reportedly be sold at a price determined by a special commission, despite the fact that it did not belong to the offender, as the court concluded that “the ownership of the vehicle is of no legal relevance”. Revenue from the sale will help fund compensation for victims of road traffic crashes.

In Mexico, the State of Jalisco has introduced its own new penalties to deter drink drivers. Drivers apprehended with a blood alcohol concentration level greater than 0.8 mg/ml face between 12 and 36 hours in custody at new Urban Center of Driver Retention for Breathalyzing facilities and a fine of up to MXN 15,000 (US$1,157), in addition to being liable for towing, impoundment, and storage fees for the vehicle.

And finally,

Terms. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia has prohibited the use of alcohol beverage terminology in listings or promotions for non-alcohol drinks. Some hotels and restaurants in the capital have previously listed non-alcohol drinks in menus as “Saudi Champagne” or “wine without alcohol”. Officials reportedly consider any referencing of alcohol in an establishment a breach of Saudi Arabia’s prohibition of alcohol.

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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