Welcome to Alcohol Action Station edition #115
Issue no. 115
In this Issue
  • Welcome to Alcohol Action Station
  • Did you know?
  • Alcohol Ads on School Buses?!
  • Invitation - Communities in Action: Challenging the Drinking Culture
  • Alcohol Industry Heavily Reliant on Risky Drinking: New report
  • New Research on Alcohol Tax
  • Music Videos on YouTube a ‘Health Hazard’
  • Alcohol in the Media
  • The Facts 

Welcome to Alcohol Action Station

Happy New Year! We hope you had a nice break over the festive season.
We’re back in full swing for the new year and have a jam-packed newsletter for you.
We are looking forward to working with our readers to urge action on alcohol this year!
Until next time,
Danica Keric, McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth
Megan De Piazz, Injury Control Council of WA

did you know?

If you see an alcohol ad that concerns you, you can contact the Alcohol Advertising Review Board. It’s very simple. Visit

Encourage others to take action on alcohol. Forward this to a friend.
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Alcohol Ads on School Buses?!

The WA Government has come under fire after the Alcohol Advertising Review Board (AARB) reviewed a complaint about an alcohol ad on a ‘School Special’ Transperth bus. The bus route goes past seven primary and high schools in Perth’s western suburbs.

The Sunday Times article“Given the huge community concern about alcohol and young people, it’s difficult to think of anything more inappropriate than having alcohol ads on school buses. It’s just so wrong on so many levels,” said Julia Stafford from the McCusker Centre.
The McCusker Centre wants the Public Transport Authority to remove alcohol ads from Transperth school buses. Despite the clear inappropriateness of alcohol ads on school buses, the WA Government seems reluctant to take action, saying that alcohol ads comply with existing industry standards. However, these existing standards do not cover placement of ads, only content.
“It’s very disappointing the WA Government chooses to rely on weak and ineffective industry standards when it could take real action to protect kids from exposure to alcohol ads…Parents should be able to expect their kids won’t be exposed to alcohol ads on school buses,” said Ms Stafford.
Want more?
Read the full story on PerthNow.
Read the determination report by the AARB Review Panel.
What can I do?
If you see an alcohol ad that concerns you, let the Alcohol Advertising Review Board know. It’s very simple - either email us, fill in the online form or phone us. All we need is a picture or link to the ad and briefly why it concerns you.
To keep up-to-date on AARB determinations, reports and interesting research, follow @AlcoholAdReview on Twitter.

Invitation - Communities in Action: Challenging the Drinking Culture

You are invited to the Local Drug Action Groups Inc. 2016 State Conference Communities in Action: Challenging the Drinking Culture on 22 April 2016, in partnership with the McCusker Centre. Image of LDAG State Conference Invitation
The conference will include a combination of keynote speakers and plenary sessions and will leave you feeling inspired with new skills to take to your community or workplace.  
The Hon Dr Sharman Stone MP will deliver the keynote address. Dr Stone is a Federal Member of Parliament with a strong history of activity on a range of alcohol issues, and a particular focus on the prevention of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.
We will update you with more details on the program as speakers are confirmed.
Conference registrations close on 26 February. Read more about the conference and how to register here.
We look forward to seeing you there!

Alcohol Industry Heavily Reliant on Risky Drinking: New Report

Just 20% of the heaviest drinkers drink almost three quarters (74.2%) of all alcohol consumed in Australia.
A new report by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) shows the alcohol industry is reliant on heavy drinkers: “They are the industry’s best customers, targeted and branded by industry as ‘super consumers’”.

Image of FARE's report
Michael Thorn of FARE said: “If the industry’s best customers were to drink within the guidelines, the total alcohol consumed as a nation would be reduced by 39% or more than 38 million litres of pure alcohol.” This would have a significant impact on the alcohol industry’s bottom line, and explains the industry’s failure to encourage its customers to drink within the national guidelines, Mr Thorn explained.
FARE is urging public health researchers, advocates and government representatives to exclude the industry from influencing alcohol policy. “The industry cannot hide behind the rhetoric of responsible drinking anymore in the face of such large numbers. We need strong interventions from government, including a volumetric tax on alcohol, as well as tougher policies on the way alcohol is marketed,” Mr Thorn said.
Want more?
Read media coverage here and here.
Check out a video FARE prepared about the report.
Read the report from FARE, Risky Business: The alcohol industry’s dependence on Australia’s heaviest drinkers

New Research on Alcohol Tax in Australia

New research shows that increasing tax on alcohol in Australia could significantly reduce consumption, particularly by the heaviest users. Image of Vandenberg study
The Monash University study led by Brian Vandenberg looked at two policy options – setting a minimum price of $1 per standard drink, or taxing all products based on alcohol content. Both options would increase the price of cheap cask wine.
Under the current tax system, there are large differences in tax paid per standard drink across product types. “The greatest inconsistency exists for cheap bulk wine which is taxed only 4 cents per standard drink, compared with regular strength beer which is taxed 46 cents per standard drink,” said Mr Vandenberg.
“Alcohol tax should be calculated according to alcohol content, with higher taxes applied to products with bigger volumes,” he said.
“The central finding of this study is that while alcohol taxation and pricing policies can have some regressive effects [when low income people pay a higher proportion of income compared to high income persons], these effects are limited as they are concentrated among the heaviest alcohol consumers,” write the authors.
Todd Harper from Cancer Council Victoria is calling on the federal government to consider these findings. “This research shows that there are some simple steps which can be taken to fix the alcohol tax system and reduce the harm caused by heavy drinking.”
Want more?
Read media coverage in The Age and the full report in Alcohol and Alcoholism.  

Music Videos on YouTube a ‘Health Hazard’

New UK research shows that music videos on YouTube deliver millions of depictions of alcohol and tobacco use to young people.
The research from the University of Nottingham found:
  • Image of Sydney Morning Herald articlePer capita exposure to alcohol and tobacco impressions in music videos was about 5 times higher for alcohol than for tobacco, and nearly 4 times higher in adolescents than in adults.
  • Girls aged 13 to 15 years had the greatest exposure of all age groups, and exposure was about 65% higher among girls.
  • The highest number of alcohol impressions was delivered by the video ‘Timber’ by Pitbull (featuring Ke$ha).
“The researchers called for more discussion about whether music videos should include anti-smoking or anti-alcohol messages before they play, but said it would be better if video makers and producers boycotted smoking and alcohol references,” reported The Sydney Morning Herald.  
"Disney films has now announced that it will no longer make films including smoking. We need a similar degree of social responsibility across the tobacco, alcohol and music industries," the authors wrote.
Professor Mike Daube, Director of the McCusker Centre said this is “an issue of enormous concern”, partly because children could be watching these videos on various devices without their parents being aware of it.
Want more?
Read media coverage in Sydney Morning Herald and the full report in the British Medical Journal.

Alcohol in the News

Schools to ban drinks industry material [Ireland]
Irish Times, 20 January 2016
All schools are to receive a directive from the Department of Education over the coming weeks asking them not to engage with any educational material developed by the drinks industry.
This mother drank while pregnant. Here’s what her daughter’s like at 43
Sydney Morning Herald, 20 January 2016
As a teen, Kathy drank alcohol while pregnant with her daughter, Karli.
Alcohol companies target the 20% of Australians who drink 75% of the alcohol
The Conversation, 20 January 2016
Researchers have known for a long time that alcohol consumption is quite concentrated in a small part of the population.
FebFast? Forget it. Expert says a month off the booze could do more harm than good
Sydney Morning Herald, 15 January 2016
Thinking of getting off the booze for a month to take part in FebFast or Dry July?
Researchers slam report which claims one-punch attacks are not related to alcohol
9 News, 14 January 2016
As one-punch attacks continue to dominate Australasian headlines, researchers have slammed a report saying alcohol is not a cause of violence.
Comment: Don’t wait for the next tragedy: the ACT must act now on alcohol
Canberra Times, 13 January 2016
Michael Thorn: The government must crack down on reckless discounting of alcohol and reduce bottle shops’ trading hours.
Coward punch: It’s time to put an end to alcohol-fuelled violence
Courier Mail, 12 January 2016
The community was appalled, quite rightly, by the senseless killing of 18-year-old Queenslander Cole Miller.  
‘Last drink’ laws, not lockouts, reduce alcohol-fuelled violence
The Conversation, 8 January 2016
Each state and territory of Australia has laws concerning times when alcohol can be sold.

The Facts

A US study of young people aged 15 to 20 years old found:
  1. More than half (59%) reported seeing alcohol ads online.
  2. The authors found a prospective association between receptivity to Internet alcohol marketing and future binge drinking. 
  3. Receptivity to internet alcohol marketing did not predict the age at first use of alcohol for baseline non-drinkers.
Source: McClure et al. Internet alcohol marketing and underage alcohol use. Pediatrics. February 2016.
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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