Welcome to Alcohol Action Station edition #112
Issue no. 112
In this Issue
  • Welcome to Alcohol Action Station
  • Did you know?
  • Updated Free TV Code Provides New Opportunities for Alcohol Advertisers
  • Highlights From Perth Alcohol Conference
  • MYTH BUSTED: Alcohol in Moderation is Not Good For You
  • Secondary Supply Laws: Why Don’t Adults Comply?
  • New Research: Alcohol-Caused Cancers in Australia
  • New Research: Trading Restrictions in Kings Cross Are Working
  • Alcohol in the Media
  • THE Facts 

Welcome to Alcohol Action Station

Sponsorship of sport works. We’ve known this for a while, and new research reinforces the impact of sports sponsorship on children. Image of sports ground
Surveys of 85 children aged 5-12 years old found that three quarters (77%) were able to identify at least one correct shirt sponsor of a sport team. Other findings include:

  • Children associated alcohol and gambling brands more highly with the more popular sporting code, NRL compared to the AFL code.
  • The NRL NSW State of Origin Blues was the team with the most alcohol brand matches by children (48% of children surveyed) and was also a team sponsored by an alcohol brand.
  • NSW State of Origin Blues was the team most frequently selected as ‘most liked’ by children (41% of children surveyed).
  • Alcohol brands were selected as being most liked by seven of the participants.

“When kids see the logo on a jersey, they think that product’s doing something good for the team, whereas we know that the point of the logo is to get people to consume more of the product,” said researcher Dr Samantha Thomas.
The authors conclude that, “Given children’s ability to implicitly recall shirt sponsors in a sporting context, Australian sporting codes should examine their current sponsorship relationships to reduce the number of unhealthy commodity shirt sponsors.”
Want more?
media coverage and the full report.

Until next time,
Danica Keric, McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth
Megan De Piazz, Injury Control Council of WA

did you know?

Sponsorship is a favoured and minimally restricted form of promotion for alcohol companies. It is a way of raising brand awareness, creating positive brand attitudes and building emotional connections with consumers.
Source: Alcohol Advertising and Young People [factsheet], available from

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Updated Free TV Code Provides New Opportunities for Alcohol Advertisers

Free TV Australia has released its updated Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice. You may remember that we encouraged subscribers to respond to the proposed Code around March this year and that we had major concerns that the proposed changes would increase young people’s exposure to alcohol advertising and promotion.
ACMA have agreed to register the new Code and it comes into effect on 1 December 2015.
The Code covers a whole range of issues, but we will focus here on the implications for alcohol advertising and promotion in the new Code.
What will stay the same:
Image of children watching TV
  • Alcohol ads will continue to be broadcast after 8.30pm (Free TV Australia had tried to bring this forward to 7.30pm but was unsuccessful following strong community opposition).
  • Alcohol ads will continue to be broadcast during sports programs on weekends and public holidays.
What will change:
  • The new Code allows alcohol ads in a much greater range of sporting programs than the previous Code allowed (where they were limited to live sporting events only). The new Code defined a ‘sports program’ as the coverage of a sporting event (whether live, replay or highlights), sporting commentary, analysis, interviews and news, and presentations/awards and ceremonies associated with a sporting event.
  • The new Code defines the ‘weekend’ as starting at 6pm on a Friday, so sports programs broadcast between 6pm Friday and midnight on Sunday can show alcohol ads.
  • A  range of exemptions have been added to the definition of a ‘commercial for alcohol drinks’ which are likely to provide further opportunities for alcohol promotions at times when alcohol ads are not otherwise allowed to be broadcast.
The overall impact of these changes is likely to be a greater volume of alcohol advertising and promotion on free-to-air TV, which is very disappointing for those who want to protect children from exposure to alcohol ads.
Want more?
Read media coverage here and here.
Read the updated Code on the Free TV Australia website.
Read our submission to Free TV Australia to get an overview of our concerns about the proposed Code.

Highlights From Perth Alcohol Conference

APSAD conference
The Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs (APSAD) conference was held in Perth this week and highlighted some great work on alcohol in Australia, as well as some concerning research findings. 
Research presented by Telethon Kids Institute showed an increase of 4% a year in the rate of admissions for alcohol-related injuries for adolescents, aged 13 to 17, between 1980 and 2009. It came as overall injury admissions for the age group had fallen, reported The West Australian.
Accidental injuries were most common but researchers also identified a 6-7% increase in injuries from violence for boys and girls. Telethon Kids Institute researcher Melissa O’Donnell said it was important to note that girls were experiencing increasing alcohol-related violence – as victims and assailants.
Acting WA Commissioner for Children and Young People Jenni Perkins said that reforms should be introduced to restrict cheap alcohol and alcohol advertising and sponsorship of sporting and cultural events.
Craig Comrie, Chief Executive of the Youth Affairs Council of WA, said it was vital to prevent young people from getting alcohol, including through tough secondary supply laws and penalties for business caught supplying alcohol to minors.
Want more?
Read the full report in The West Australian.
Check out #APSAD and @APSADConf for all the tweets from the conference.
More from the conference is below.

MYTH BUSTED: Alcohol in Moderation is Not Good For You

Image of question markThe popular myth that a small amount of alcohol is good for you has once again been busted at the APSAD conference.
Leading alcohol researcher Professor Tanya Chikritzhs from the National Drug Research Institute at Curtin University says that previous research around the benefits of alcohol is seriously flawed.
Some doctors and medical commentators recommend alcohol as an aid to heart health, but Prof Chikritzhs says this advice should no longer be given. “The evidence has got to be really strong in my mind before you start recommending people do something for health and the evidence is becoming weaker,” she said.
“If you are going to drink, do it for the right reasons, not because you think it will stop heart disease,” Professor Chikritzhs said.
Want more?
Read The West Australian for more.

Secondary Supply Laws: Why Don’t Adults Comply?

Secondary supply laws have passed through the WA Parliament. The laws recently received the Royal Assent and will be accompanied by a media and information campaign. They will be in force before Leavers later this month.
While new to WA, secondary supply has been in place in NSW since 2007.Image of FARE report re secondary supply
New research on the NSW laws shows that there is a relaxed attitude to giving alcohol to teenagers. “Our research shows that people substantially overestimate the social acceptability of underage drinking and are often concerned that their values are too conservative,” said Prof Sandra Jones, who led the study.  
The report was commissioned by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) and produced by ACU’s Centre for Health and Social Research.  It found that fewer than one-fifth of adults surveyed believed police were widely checking on the supply of alcohol to teenagers in their area.
“There are a number of steps that state and territory governments can, and should be taking to ensure that secondary supply laws are effective. Governments must do more to raise awareness of secondary supply laws and associated penalties, to ensure these laws are being enforced, and that more parents, community members and other adults understand the health risks associated with drinking alcohol under the age of 18 when a young person’s brain is still developing,” said Mr Thorn, Chief Executive of FARE. 
Want more?
Read the full report Why don’t friends and relatives of underage drinkers comply with secondary supply laws in NSW on FARE’s website.
Read media coverage in The West Australian.

New Research: Alcohol-Caused Cancers in Australia

New research published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health shows that an estimated 3,208 cancers occurring in Australian adults in 2010 could be attributed to alcohol use.
Other key findings include:
  • Image of ANZJPH articleThe highest prevalence of heavy drinking (more than 4 standard drinks per day) was seen in males in the 25-64 year age group.
  • The greatest number of cancers due to alcohol use were for cancers of the colon (868) and female breast cancer (830).
  • The incidence of alcohol-associated cancer types could have been reduced by 1,442 cases in 2010 if no Australian adult consumed more than 2 standard drinks per day in 2001.
The authors noted that an increase in alcohol consumption could lead to increased numbers of cancers in the future; an increase in young women drinking could lead to an increase in breast cancer in particular.
Want more?
Read the full report in the latest edition of ANZJPH.

New Research: Trading Restrictions in Kings Cross Are Working

Doctors in St Vincent Hospital, Sydney’s biggest, say the city’s alcohol restrictions have led to a significant decrease in the most life threatening alcohol-related injuries.

Image of MJA articleA new report in the Medical Journal of Australia looked at serious injury presentations to the hospital 12 months before and after the restrictions were brought in to Kings Cross. The study shows a decrease of almost 25% in the number of seriously injured patients presenting to the emergency department during high alcohol times (from 6pm on Friday to 6am on Sunday) following introduction of the restrictions, which included last drinks at 3am and lockouts from 1.30am.
The report also shows that the laws didn’t appear to be pushing the problem to other suburbs. “So in the first year there wasn’t any shift or people going out and bashing each other up somewhere else,” said Professor Gordian Fulde, Director of the Emergency Department at St Vincent Hospital.
Want more?
Read media coverage here and here and the full report in MJA.

Alcohol in the Media

Teens and alcohol don’t mix. Fact.
Daily Telegraph, 11 November 2015
Research tells us clearly that teens and alcohol don’t mix – in fact, medical studies routinely suggest that humans as a whole and alcohol don’t mix.

FARE study finds many think it’s OK to give other people’s kids alcohol
Sydney Morning Herald, 10 November 2015
Would you give alcohol to another person’s child? Nearly a third of people say it’s OK, if the kids are in a safe environment.
Revised lockout laws will curb alcohol-fuelled violence, Queensland A-G says
ABC News, 9 November 2015
Labor’s plan to revise lockout laws will significantly reduce levels of alcohol-fuelled violence, Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath says.
Alcohol bottles to carry labels warning women of drink dangers (Ireland)
Irish Examiner, 3 November 2015
Compulsory warning labels for pregnant women are to appear on all bottles of alcohol from next year under new health laws.
NT Government yet to act on eight month-old fetal alcohol report
ABC World Today, 3 November 2015
Eight months ago the head of a Northern Territory parliamentary committee Kezia Purick tabled a report in Parliament that said foetal alcohol spectrum disorder or FASD was doing untold harm to children in the northern territory.
Comment: Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders: ‘Hidden’ problem is more pervasive than we thought
Sydney Morning Herald, 3 November 2015
Everyone, it seems, gets a say in eth alcohol debate except the unborn child.
Tests for Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder could be used in WA court system
ABC News, 3 November 2015
West Australian courts look set to be given access to screening for brain damage and
The wine wars: Is cheap wine too cheap?
Sydney Morning Herald, 31 October 2015
The price of wine could rise if the Turnbull government proceeds with changes to the way Australian wine is taxed. It’s an issue that’s put the industry at war.
Licensing blitz finds more breaches in Byron Bay venues
Echo Net Daily, 28 October 2015
A swoop by the Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing (OLGR) on Byron Bay venues over the Labour Day long weekend found a number of breaches, prompting one campaigner to call for an end to self-regulation of the industry. 

The Facts

  1. Exposure to alcohol advertising influences young people’s beliefs and attitudes about drinking, and increases the likelihood that adolescents will start to use alcohol and will drink more if they are already using alcohol.
  2. Alcohol sponsorship has been shown to increase drinking and hazardous consumption among those sponsored.
  3. Exposure to alcohol advertising on TV and liking of those advertisements influences young people’s drinking and the development of alcohol-related problems.
Source: Alcohol Advertising and Young People [Factsheet], available from:
Alcohol Action Station aims to provide the WA community with the tools to take action to reduce harms from alcohol among young people. It is provided by the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth in association with the Injury Control Council of WA. You are receiving this email because you have subscribed to receive Alcohol Action Station fortnightly e‐newsletters and urgent bulletins.

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