Welcome to Alcohol Action Station edition #120
Issue no. 120
In this Issue
  • Welcome to Alcohol Action Station
  • Did you know?
  • Renewed Calls for Changes to Alcohol Tax
  • They Said What!? Alcohol Industry Tactics on ‘How to Market Alcohol Where Alcohol Marketing is Banned’
  • Training invitation: Intro to Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention
  • Video Conference – Alcohol Advertising in the Community: Taking Action
  • Survey for Young People Who Use Social Media
  • Online Video: Alcohol Industry, Health Policy and Conflicts of Interest
  • Alcohol in the Media
  • The Facts

Welcome to Alcohol Action Station

Busting the myth of health benefits from alcohol

New research provides further evidence to question any supposed health benefits from drinking alcohol.Image of true false
A team of international researchers, including Professor Tanya Chikritzhs from the National Drug Research Institute at Curtin University, found that a number of studies linking one or two drinks per day with a range of health benefits were based on flawed science.
The team found that many of the studies were comparing moderate drinkers to abstainers, who frequently gave up alcohol for health reasons. "So essentially they set up a situation where an abstainer group looks as if they're in worse health than the drinker group…What we identified is when you account for this bias built into the methodologies of these studies, you actually don't find a protective effect of alcohol at all," Prof Chikritzhs told the ABC.
The authors conclude, “Our study suggests that a sceptical position is warranted in relation to the evidence that low-volume consumption is associated with net health benefits.” 
Want more?
Read media coverage and the full paper in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
Until next time,
Danica Keric, McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth
Megan De Piazz, Injury Control Council of WA

did you know?

Wine in Australia is taxed based on its wholesale price, not its alcohol content.  This is why cheap wine only pays a very small amount of tax, as little as 5 cents per standard drink.

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Renewed Calls for Changes to Alcohol Tax

A paper published in the Medical Journal of Australia by Prof Mike Daube and Julia Stafford from the McCusker Centre calls on the Federal Government to implement major reforms to alcohol tax. Image of alcohol and tax paper
“Regulating the price of alcohol is one of the most effective approaches to reducing harm from alcohol,” said Julia Stafford. The authors wrote that the current system is incoherent and complex. “Cask wine can be promoted and sold for as little as 18 cents per standard drink, or just $1.18 per litre. Cask wine is a great example of why we need real alcohol tax reform,” Ms Stafford told the ABC AM program.
Professor Nick Talley from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians said that there will be challenges. “I realise we want to support our industries and I understand where government is lobbied, but it's critical too that we look after the community.”
“Failure by governments to act will now, as 40 years ago, “constitute gross irresponsibility””, conclude the authors.
Want more?
Read media coverage here and here.
Read the full paper in the MJA and a report in MJA Insight.

They Said What!? Alcohol Industry Tactics on ‘How to Market Alcohol Where Alcohol Marketing is Banned’

The alcohol industry publication, Just Drinks, outlines to alcohol companies exactly how they can market their products in places where alcohol advertising is restricted.Image of Just Drinks article
They mention sport sponsorship, “cleverly-negotiated product placement”, point-of-sale promotions and product packaging, among others, as ways of avoiding alcohol advertising restrictions. “Surrogates”, including brand extensions like low/no-alcohol products and “style guides” are another way advertisers can get around restrictions.
“Above all, creativity and innovation are more important than ever,” writes David Guy, the author.
It’s not surprising to see alcohol advertisers trying to get around restrictions, but we are disappointed. This comes at a time when there is increasing concern about young people’s exposure to alcohol advertising, with compelling evidence that young people are influenced by alcohol advertising.
What do you think?
Are you concerned about young people’s exposure to alcohol advertising? Let us know your thoughts at
For the full article, visit Just Drinks.

Training Invitation: Intro to Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention

Are you interested in reducing or preventing alcohol and other drug (AOD)-related harm in local communities? You are invited to attend An introduction to AOD prevention within communities.
When:                 Thursday and Friday 12-13 May 2016, 9.00 am - 4.30 pm
Venue:                 Mental Health Commission – 7 Field St, Mt Lawley
Presented by:    Professor Steve Allsop, Director of the National Drug Research Institute
                              Prevention staff, Mental Health Commission
TrainingThis interactive workshop will provide an introduction to the principles and models to understand and apply evidence-based AOD prevention strategies and facilitate effective community action; plan, implement and evaluate prevention activities; and engage stakeholders and the community in addressing AOD-related issues. Key State and National AOD prevention policy directions will also be addressed. Topics will also include social marketing, community action and liquor licensing.
Read more about the event and register here. If you have any questions, contact Workforce Development Administration Officers on (08) 9370 0368 or 9370 0327, or by emailing

Video Conference – Alcohol Advertising in the Community: Taking Action

You are invited to a video conference Alcohol advertising in the community: Taking action.Image of working together
Addressing young people’s exposure to alcohol advertising is an essential part of a comprehensive approach to preventing alcohol-related harms. This video conference will provide an overview of why alcohol advertising is an issue, the impact of alcohol advertising on young people, and the extent of the problem in Australia.
When:                 Tuesday, 17 May 2016. 10.00 am – 12.00 midday
Presented by:   Hannah Pierce, Alcohol Advertising Review Board
                             and Julia Stafford, McCusker Centre
Register:            Here by 10 May 2016. As this is a video conference,
                             you will need to have access to appropriate programs and equipment. Access info
                             is available here.

For more info, contact Robynne Stark from the Mental Health Commission at

Survey For Young People Who Use Social Media

Do you know a  young person aged between 13 and 25 years? Do they use social media?Image of survey poster
If so, Curtin University researchers would love to hear from them!
The Alcohol Advertising on Social Media and Young People survey aims to explore the influence of social media on young people’s alcohol behaviours in Australia and India. The survey will take 10-15 minutes to complete and will be completely anonymous.
To find out more, visit the Facebook page for the survey and the survey.
If you know of young people in this age range, share this info with them!

Online Video: Alcohol Industry, Health Policy and Conflicts of Interest

Image of DrinkTank post
Did you miss Professor Jeff Collin’s recent presentations on the conflict of interest between public health objectives and the economic goals of key industries? Fear not because the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education were kind enough to record Professor Collin’s seminar when he spoke in Canberra last week.
Watch the seminar on DrinkTank, and don’t forget to leave a comment.

Alcohol in the News

‘This is not about stopping people drinking wine, this is about taxing cheap alcohol’: physician
The Huffington Post, 27 March 2016
A peak medical body wants to see big increases in taxes on cask wine because of the harm ‘goon bags’ are causing to young Australian drinkers.
Alcohol on sale for as little as 15.5p per unit, snapshot study shows
Belfast Telegraph, 24 March 2016
UK: A charity has renewed calls for minimum unit pricing for alcohol after a snapshot study found the recommended 14 units a week can be bought for little over £2.
Respect the river: Boozing and boating are a deadly mix
The Border Mail, 23 March 2016
New research has revealed that 35% of all drowning deaths over the past 13 years involved alcohol.
Why all Sydneysiders should be grateful for the lockout
Sydney Morning Herald: 21 March 2016
Comment: The debate about alcohol availability in Australia is now at fever pitch.
Drink drivers to be forced to use alcohol interlocks from this year, WA Minister says
ABC News, 21 March 2016
Alcohol interlock devices being introduced in Western Australia this year will go a long way to slashing the incidence of drink driving, Road Safety Minister Liza Harvey has said.
Push to ease Kimberley alcohol restrictions dealt blow as Minister backs curbs
ABC News, 18 March 2016
A push by liquor retailers to ease alcohol restrictions in two far north West Australian towns has been dealt a severe blow, with the Minister responsible saying the social and health benefits outweigh any negative impacts.

The Facts

Health groups are in broad agreement about the key principles that should guide tax reform:
  1. A volumetric approach that applies to all alcohol products should be central to reform, with tax increasing for products with higher alcohol volumes.
  2. A tiered system that includes stepped increases in tax rates would provide economic incentives for the production and consumption of lower-strength alcohol products and help ensure that the prices of some other products do not drop substantially.
  3. A minimum floor price set at an appropriate level would support and complement a volumetric approach, in particular targeting the heaviest drinkers who consume the most.  
Source: Daube & Stafford. Alcohol and tax – time for real reform. MJA 204(6).
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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