New EU study finds definitive link between alcohol ads & adolescent drinking

alcohol television

August 22, 2016

A new report
by the Society for the Study of Addiction supports a link between alcohol adverstising and adolescent drinking. The European study, published in August by the scientific journal Addiction finds that exposure to several different types of alcohol marketing is linked with the amount and frequency of drinking among adolescents across Europe.

The study included more than 9,000 adolescents in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Poland where the average age of those questioned was 14 years. The students reported their drinking frequency and binge drinking as well as their exposure to a wide range of alcohol marketing, including television ads; online marketing; sponsorship of sports, music events, or festivals; ownership of alcohol branded promotional items; receipt of free samples; and exposure to price offers.

The data showed exposure to alcohol marketing of all kinds was positively associated with adolescents’ alcohol use over time. These findings support new regulations by the EU's regulatory agency, the Audio Media Visual Services Directive (AMVSD).

The report's lead author, Avalon de Bruijn, of the European Centre for Monitoring Alcohol Marketing (EUCAM), says “Europe is the world’s heaviest drinking region, and youth drinking is particularly problematic. Our study highlights the need to restrict the volume of alcohol marketing to which young people are exposed in everyday life. It’s no longer just a matter of restricting television ads; policymakers need to examine the alcohol industry’s total marketing scheme and develop regulations that will reduce all types of alcohol marketing.”

Read the full report.

Obama Pushes TPP Onto New Congressional Fast Track

August 22, 2016

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President Obama submitted notice to Congress.

Now's the time to weigh in to STOP the TPP!

Last Friday, the Obama administration issued formal notice to Congress of intent to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), by submitting a draft statement of administrative action [SAA].

The SAA lays out how the President would implement the TPP if Congress approves the 12-nation trade agreement. This notice kicks off a process of Congressional hearings and negotiations with the White House.

After 30 days has passed, the White House can submit a final SAA along with a bill to approve the agreement, which Congress will give expedited consideration and an up or down vote.

Here's a timeline to catch you up, as well as a brief overview. Learn more from the Congressional Research Service.

Tell your Members of Congress TO STOP THE TPP!

Yes, New Mexico! It’s Time to Raise Your Alcohol Tax and Charge for Harm

New Mexico Tax REAL

August 18, 2016

On Tuesday, August 23, New Mexico's state legislature will consider raising the state tax on alcohol to 25 cents. If you thought a quarter was small change, you'd be amazed at the positive impact the increase will have on the health and well-being of New Mexico's residents, not to mention cities, counties, hospitals, public health officials, and government coffers.

Currently, New Mexico holds first place in a dismal race--it leads the U.S. in the number of annual deaths per capita attributed to alcohol. As Dr. Holly Mata reports in the Almogordo Daily News, 1 in 6 deaths in New Mexico among people aged 20 to - 64 is caused by excessive drinking. That's 1,139 individuals whose deaths from alcohol-related causes (including traffic crashes, violence, cancer, liver failure, falls, injuries, and other illnesses) could have been prevented.

Daunting figures.

An yet, studies show that an additional 25 cents excise tax is a strong enough disincentive to prevent 12,375 people from suffering alcohol dependence or absue in any given year. Even more telling, this small bump in price is enough to reduce New Mexico's underage drinkers by 13%. That's 7,150 kids who will have some powerful help in resisting temptation.

Paying for Harm

The revenue from alcohol-related excise taxes offer wide-ranging social benefits.

When researchers at the University of New Mexico added up these hidden costs, they found every New Mexican resident is spending more than $400 a year in taxes for public services by city and county police, ambulance and emergency medical care providers, plus administrative court and detention cases.

Public health experts estimate the economic cost of excessive drinking for New Mexico approaches $2 billion a year.

An alcohol excise tax turns these numbers upside down. A 25 cents-per-drink tax raises $154 million in New Mexico's state revenue that will be spent on law enforcement, education, and rehab programs focusing on underage drinking, drinking and driving, and alcohol dependence.

The tax is not regressive. First, the state has not increased its excise tax since 1993. And, while it does hit the excessive drinker the hardest, nearly 49% of New Mexico's residents don't drink. They won't pay a cent!

Every resident will see direct benefits to public health. Part of the revenue is earmarked for 2017's Medicaid Expansion Match. The federal program, part of the Affordable Care Act, is expressly for low-income and disabled residents. In New Mexico, the program will provide health insurance coverage to more than 200,000 people.

So, go ahead: pick heads or tails. No matter how you toss the coin, it makes great sense to increase New Mexico's alcohol tax.

  • Learn more about Alcohol Justice's Charge for Harm campaign.
  • Curious to learn how a similar excise tax would impact your state's revenue? Use our Tax Calculator and find out.

Call to Action To Stop AB 1322 - The Irresponsible Drybar Bill  

July 15, 2016

A veritable tsunami of alcohol-related harm could very well be in California’s forecast, as the state legislature seems determined to allow 42,000+ beauty salons and barber shops to serve free alcohol to customers. This would happen if AB 1322 - “the Drybar Bill” - is passed and signed into law by Governor Brown. Beer and wine (and surely spirits down the line) will flow freely without licenses, permits, monitoring, Responsible Beverage Service training, or enforcement of current regulations.

California now suffers more than $22 billion dollars in alcohol-related harm annually with10,000 alcohol-related deaths. Alcohol Justice has estimated that if AB 1322 becomes law the number of venues allowed to serve alcohol in the state will increase by 41%. Additional alcohol-related harm is inevitable with increased availability. Yet voices of reason are in short supply in Sacramento, while those in denial of the dangers of allowing unlicensed, unmonitored free booze push this bill through the legislative pipeline.

This irresponsible legislation would allow:

  • Alcohol to be served without a license at 42,000+ new venues in California
  • Alcohol to be served without ANY requirements for proper training of the barbers and beauticians on how to monitor or responsibly serve
  • Alcohol to be purchased by barbershops and beauty salons without any regard for the safeguards of shipping through the established wholesale/retail tier, increasing the potential for altered products, moonshine, and tax evasion
  • Alcohol to be poured and consumed in venues which invariably will include minors
  • Alcohol to be served without any regard to the density of alcohol licensed outlets or consideration of proximity to schools, churches or other vulnerable institutions
  • No provisions for monitoring or enforcement of the law or the meaningless restrictions included in the bill
  • No proof of the necessity of this law, as no analysis even estimates current serving of drinks at salons or barber shops or   demonstrates the need for the nearly complete deregulation of alcohol service at such venues
  • Potential liability for drunk driving and aggressive crimes by businesses that serve beer and wine without a license, without training, and without the insurance that would normally be required of a California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) licensed facility.

It is a sad testament to the power of big alcohol to negatively influence government to put the health and safety of all California residents and visitors behind the special interests who proposed this drastic change to the laws that govern alcohol in California.

The only publicly visible sponsors of the bill are two hair salon chains – Drybar and18|8 Fine Men's Hair Salon. It is no coincidence that Drybar’s corporate headquarters are located in Irvine, California, a city within State Senator Tom Daly’s district. Senator Daly authored the bill.

San Rafael-based Alcohol Justice and the statewide California Alcohol Policy Alliance (CAPA) have led the opposition, which includes numerous individuals and these organizations:

• Asian American Drug Abuse Program, Inc.
• California Council on Alcohol Problems
• Eden Youth and Family Center
• Friday Night Live
• Institute for Public Strategies
• Koreatown Youth and Community Center
• Los Angeles Drug and Alcohol Policy Alliance
• Luthern Office of Public Policy - California
• Partnership for a Positive Pomona
• Paso por Paso
• Pueblo y Salud
• San Francisco DogPAC
• San Rafael Alcohol and Drug Coalition
• Saving Lives Drug & Alcohol Coalition
• The Wall/Las Memorias Project
• United Coalition East Prevention Project
• Youth for Justice

It is quite disturbing to those concerned with the public health and safety ramifications of the bill that the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the California Department of Public Health, and the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology do not seem to be concerned at all.

Barbershops or beauty salons that wish to serve alcohol should simply apply for the appropriate license, pay the necessary fees, and be subject to monitoring, enforcement and beverage service training requirements that all other servers of alcohol in California must follow under current law and the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

When the legislature reconvenes from summer recess on August 1, AB 1322 faces one more committee vote in the Senate, and a full Senate floor vote, before heading to the Governor. Previously the bill passed through the Assembly. We implore the Senate, Governor Brown, Attorney General Harris and ABC officials to help safeguard public health and safety and reduce alcohol-related harm in California. Stopping AB 1322, the irresponsible Drybar Bill, is a necessary step in that direction.

To add your voice of reason, please TAKE ACTION here.

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Michael J. Scippa is Public Affairs Director at Alcohol Justice, and an appointed member of the Marin County Advisory Board on Alcohol and Other Drug Programs.