Welcome to Alcohol Action Station e-newsletter edition #68
Issue no. 68
In this Issue
  • Welcome to Alcohol Action Station
  • Did you know?
  • New Evidence Shows a Minimum Unit Price Would Target High Risk Drinkers
  • Alcohol and Cancer: What Many Australians Don’t Know
  • UK Alcohol Industry Group Releases Voluntary Sponsorship Code
  • Political Donations in the Spotlight
  • Seen an Alcohol Ad that Concerns You? 
  • Alcohol in the Media 
  • The Facts 

Welcome to Alcohol Action Station

The latest WA Police operation has again shown that bottle shops are failing to check the age of their customers after 70% of bottle shops visited sold alcohol to 18-year-old Cadets without checking their ID.
The Australian Liquor Stores Association’s service policy says any customer who looks under 25 should be asked for identification, while the Australian Hotels Association says its standard is 21.
In the latest operation, two 18-year-old male and female police cadets bought alcohol at 140 of the 200 outlets they visited without proving they were 18.
Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan said the three operations showed the industry could not be trusted to self-regulate.

The Committee reviewing WA’s Liquor Control Act has recommended the introduction of controlled purchase operations, whereby an underage person enters a licensed premise under controlled conditions to attempt to purchase alcohol. They have also recommended amendments to the Act to require licensees to request proof of age from those who appear under the age of 25. There is strong support from the community, health organisations, and WA Police for controlled purchase operations to give WA Police greater powers to monitor and enforce existing laws regarding alcohol sales to minors.
NSW Premier, Barry O’Farrell, recently announced a 16-point plan to curb alcohol-related violence. The plan includes a proposal to use “covert controlled operations by police involving minors or young-looking adults… to support enforcement of laws prohibiting the sale of alcohol and minors.”
We hope these developments give the WA Government further motivation to act on the review committee’s recommendations as a matter of urgency.
Want more?
Read the full story in The West Australian, the Liquor Control Act Review report and the NSW Government’s 16-point plan.
Until next time,
Danica Keric, McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth
Megan DePiazz, Injury Control Council WA

did you know?

Three WA Police operations showed that two out of three operators failed to ask for ID during 392 visits by young-looking police cadets since July.
Source: Knowles, G. Most booze shops fail to check age. The West Australian, Feb 13 2014.

Encourage others to take action on alcohol. Forward this to a friend.
Forward to a Friend

New Evidence Shows a Minimum Unit Price Would Target High Risk Drinkers

New research from England has found that setting a minimum unit price on alcohol would reduce deaths and cut hospital admissions among heavy drinkers but would have almost no impact on those who drink moderately. 
The study predicted a reduction of alcohol-related deaths by 860 per year and hospital admissions by 29,900 per year among harmful drinkers. 
“Our study finds no evidence to support the concerns highlighted by Government and the alcohol industry that minimum unit pricing would penalise responsible drinkers on low incomes. Instead, minimum unit pricing is a policy that is targeted at those who consume large quantities of cheap alcohol,” says Professor Petra Meier, Director of the Sheffield Alcohol Research Group, and one of the authors of the study.
McCusker Centre Director, Professor Mike Daube, said price “was the single most important determinant” of drinking behaviour.
''The alcohol industry promotes the scare that volumetric tax would impact heavily on moderate drinkers. This research consigns that argument to the dustbin,'' he said. ''It is a disgrace that you can still get alcohol at $2 a litre.''
Want more?
Read the media release, the research paper, and media coverage.

Alcohol and Cancer: What Many Australians Don’t Know

Alcohol is a group one carcinogen; it is known to be a direct cause of cancer in humans. However, many Aussies are not aware of this. world cancer report
The World Cancer Report, released last week, shows that alcohol-attributable cancers were responsible for a total of 337,400 deaths worldwide in 2010.
New research has found that in 2012, only 36.6% of South Australian adults perceived alcohol as a ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ important risk factor of cancer.
To raise awareness of the link between alcohol and cancer, researchers from the University of Adelaide are calling for the introduction of health warning labels on alcohol products that include information about the alcohol-related risk of cancer.
Cancer Council Australia’s Ian Olver argues, “Any potentially harmful product should carry a warning for the consumer. A box of matches does.” 
Speaking broadly about the range of measures needed to prevent alcohol related cancer, Dr Bernard Stewart from the University of NSW said, “The extent to which we modify the availability of alcohol, the labelling of alcohol, the promotion of alcohol and the price of alcohol – those things should be on the agenda.”
Read the new research
Want more?
Read more from Ian Olver on The Conversation.
Read recent media coverage of alcohol and cancer here and here.

UK Alcohol Industry Group Releases Voluntary Sponsorship Code 

The UK alcohol industry representative organisation, the Portman Group, recently launched a UK-wide alcohol sponsorship code. 

sports stadiumSome of the ‘Rules for Responsible Alcohol Sponsorship’ include:
  • Alcohol brands must ensure their sponsorship campaigns promote responsible drinking
  • Drinks companies cannot sponsor individuals under the age of 18. Companies may sponsor a team, band or group which includes a player or member who is under 18 years of age provided that at least 75% of the overall participants are aged over 18.
  • Drinks companies must not sponsor individuals, activities, teams, events, tournaments, competitions, etc. which have a particular appeal to, or are primarily aimed at under 18s.
  • Sponsorship must not imply it is acceptable to consume alcohol before or while playing sport or suggest alcohol enhances sporting performance or social success.
The code is voluntary and will not be enforced by government.
Health groups have responded by questioning what the voluntary code will achieve, other than to delay stronger regulation by governments.

The WA Health Promotion Foundation, Healthway, has dismissed the code as a window dressing exercise designed to avert effective external regulation of alcohol sponsorship of sport.
Alcohol Concern, a leading UK charity, says the code “offers nothing to meaningfully reform how alcohol is promoted.” Tom Smith, Programme Policy Manager at Alcohol Concern adds, “It looks like big business is taking action but the reality pretty much stays the same.”
“The Government acknowledges the links between alcohol advertising and consumption, particularly in children and young people, which is why we need to remove alcohol sponsorship from all sporting, cultural and music events.”
Want more? 
Read media coverage here.
What do you think? Is a voluntary alcohol sponsorship code enough? Let us know your thoughts at  

Political Donations in the Spotlight 

The Australian Hotels Association (AHA) was the largest political donor in the Northern Territory in 2012-13, donating a total of $300,000 to the two major parties, reports The Australian. The AHA spent almost 14 times more per capita on political donations in the Northern Territory last year than in any jurisdiction at any time over the past decade. 
A recent article in The Australian reports that the Northern Territory ranks alongside “vodka-soaked ex-Soviet republics in terms of per capita alcohol consumption.”
Last year, speaking at an AHA annual awards dinner, Chief Minister Adam Giles said the Northern Territory’s drinking culture is a “core social value” and that the Government would do its best to support the liquor industry.
The NT government faces scrutiny over its controversial alcohol policies which experts say are not cost-effective and are too friendly to the industry, reports The Australian. 
Mr Giles denies the AHA’s contribution had influenced his government’s policies. 

Seen an Alcohol Ad That Concerns You? 

Seen an alcohol ad that concerned you? Contact the Alcohol Advertising Review Board! AARB bus stop
The Alcohol Advertising Review Board accepts complaints from the Australian community about alcohol ads and aims to provide independent review of alcohol advertising in Australia.
Making a complaint is simple – just send a pic or link to the advertisement (if you can) and briefly describe why it concerns you. At you will find an online form and contact details to submit complaints.
Check out some recent determinations:
Follow the Alcohol Advertising Review Board (@AlcoholAdReview) on Twitter.  

Alcohol in the Media

Youth set political agenda to curb alcohol abuse
ABC News, 12 February 2014
"I'm sharing my story about how dad caught up in alcohol and ended his life," says 17-year-old Annetionette Kelly from Alice Springs.

Alcoholic liver disease on the increase in young
Sydney Morning Herald, 11 February 2014
More young women are being treated for advanced liver disease caused by steady and dangerous drinking starting in teenage years, doctors warn.
Expert says parents who discourage teenagers boozing help prevent alcohol problems later
Courier Mail, 10 February 2014
Teenagers whose parents take a “tough love” approach to alcohol consumption are more likely to drink responsibly as adults, a drug and alcohol expert says.
Indigenous elders want tougher controls on takeaway alcohol sales at Top Springs hotel
ABC News, 6 February 2014
A group of Indigenous elders is urging the Northern Territory Licensing Commission to enforce tougher alcohol restrictions at a remote hotel.
Wealthier communities drink more alcohol than poorer
ABC News, 6 February 2014
People from wealthy areas drink more on average than their poorer counterparts.
Australian ‘healthy drinking’ ideas
Sky News, 5 February 2014
Many Australians overestimate how much alcohol a man can drink without harming his health, according to a study of thousands of people.
Abbott Government increases beer tax as alcohol drinkers call for new deal
Herald Sun, 4 February 2014
The biggest leap in taxes on beer and spirits for three years has sparked calls for a new deal for drinkers. 

The Facts

A recent South Australian study of awareness of the NHMRC guidelines for low-risk alcohol use found:
  1. Awareness of the NHMRC guidelines is low: more than a third of respondents reported that they do not know the recommended limit for low-risk alcohol use.
  2. 21.6% drank in excess of the NHMRC guidelines in 2011 and 2012 (i.e. more than 2 drinks on average per day).
  3. Men were nearly three times more likely to drink in excess of the guidelines than women.
Source: Bowden J, et al. Alcohol consumption and NHMRC guidelines: has the message got out, are people conforming and are they aware that alcohol causes cancer? Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health 38(1): 66-72.  
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.

Copyright © 2014 Alcohol Action Station, All rights reserved.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp