In Ireland, the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill proposes introducing minimum unit pricing, health labelling, and advertising restrictions to tackle excessive consumption. The aim of this research was to examine the level of support for evidence-based alcohol control policy among the Irish population. We conducted a household survey using quota sampling in three pilot sites in Southern Ireland. Consumption, attitude, and behaviour questions were taken from previously validated instruments. In total, 1075 individuals completed the questionnaire. Hazardous alcohol consumption was reported by 51.1% of the population, 31.5% of women, and 69.8% of men. The majority of individuals (> 50%) supported alcohol policy measures. These individuals are more likely to be low-risk drinkers, older individuals, and report alcohol-related issues in their local area. In the context of Ireland’s Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, this research signals support for evidence-based strategies including minimum unit pricing and a reduction and separation of alcohol sales outlets.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Berridge V. Demons: our changing attitudes to alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2013.
Mongan D, Hope A, Nelson M. Social consequences of harmful use of alcohol in Ireland. In: HRB Overview Series 9. Dublin. Health Research Board; 2009. http://www.hrb.ie/uploads/tx_hrbpublications/HRBOverview_9.pdf.
World Health Organization. Global status report on alcohol and health, Switzerland, World Health Organization; 2014. http://www.who.int/substance_abuse/publications/global_alcohol_report/msb_gsr_2014_1.pdf?ua=1.
Babor T, Caetano R, Casswell S, Edwards G, Giesbrecht N, Graham K, Grube J, Hill L, Holder H, Homel R, Livingston M, Ósterberg E, Rehm J, Room R, Rossow I. Alcohol no ordinary commodity—research and public policy. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2010.
Rehm J, Shield K, Rehm M, Gmel G, Frick U. Alcohol consumption, alcohol dependence and attributable burden of disease in Europe. Potential gains from effective interventions for alcohol dependence. Toronto: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health; 2012.
Babor TF, Higgins-Biddle JC, Saunders JB, Monteiro MG. The alcohol use disorders identification test: guidelines for use in primary care. 2nd ed. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2001.
Gordon AJ, Maisto SA, Mcneil M, Kraemer KL, Conigliaro RL, Kelley ME, Conigliaro J. Three questions can detect hazardous drinkers. J Fam Pract. 2001;50:313–20.
World Health Organisaton. Alcohol: Fact Sheet [Online]; 2011. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs349/en/index.html.
Hope A, Dring C, Dring J. College lifestyle and attitudinal national (CLAN) survey. The Health of Irish Students. Dublin: Health Service Executive; 2005.
Hope A. Alcohol-related harm in Ireland. Dublin: Health Service Executive-Alcohol Implementation Group; 2008.
Rehm J, Mathers C, Popova S, Thavorncharoensap M, Teerawattananon Y, Patra J. Global burden of disease and injury and economic cost attributable to alcohol use and alcohol-use disorders. Lancet. 2009;373:2223–33.
Casswell S, Harding JF, You RQ, Huckle T. Alcohol’s harm to others: self-reports from a representative sample of New Zealanders. N Z Med J. 2011;124:75–84.
Casswell S, You RQ, Huckle T. Alcohol’s harm to others: reduced wellbeing and health status for those with heavy drinkers in their lives. Addiction (Abingdon, England). 2011;106:1087–94.
Connor J, Casswell S. Alcohol-related harm to others in New Zealand: evidence of the burden and gaps in knowledge. N Z Med J. 2012;125:11–27.
Department Of Health. Steering group report on a National Substance Misuse Strategy. Dublin: Department of Health; 2012.
Factbook OECDOECD. Economic, Environmental and Social Statistics. Paris: OECD Publishing; 2013. p. 2013.
Eurobarometer EU citizens’ attitudes towards alcohol. Brussels: European Commission; 2010.
Byrne S. Costs to society of problem alcohol use in Ireland. Dublin: Health Service Executive; 2010.
Edwards G. Alcohol policy and the public good. Addiction. 1997;92:S73–9.
Health Promotion Unit, Department of Health and Children, National Working Group On Alcohol Consumption In Higher Education, Framework for developing a college alcohol policy. Health Service Executive; 2002.
Hope A. ‘Lead us not into temptation’: adolescence and alcohol policy in Europe. Alcohol Alcohol. 2013;49:126–7.
Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. RCPI policy group on alcohol reducing alcohol health harm. Dublin: Royal College or Physicians of Ireland; 2013.
Butler S. Ireland’s Public Health (Alcohol) Bill policy window or political sop. Contemp Drug Probl. 2015. https://doi.org/10.1177/0091450915579873.
Oireachtas Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015. In: Department Of Health, editor. Dublin: Oireachtas; 2015.
O’Halloran M. Fianna Fáil is committed to alcohol Bill, Martin says. Dublin: The Irish Times; 2016.
O’Halloran M. Government alcohol Bill is up against strong lobbying. Dublin: The Irish Times; 2016.
O’Halloran M. Sharp exchanges in Seanad on Public Health (Alcohol) Bill. Dublin: The Irish Times; 2016.
Petticrew M, Fitzgerald N, Durand MA, Knai C, Davoren M, Perry I. Diageo’s’ stop out of control drinking’ campaign in Ireland: an analysis. PLoS ONE. 2016;11:e0160379.
Buykx P, Li J, De Matos EG, Gavens L, Hooper L, Ward B, Holmes J. Factors associated with public support for alcohol policy in England: a population-based survey. Lancet. 2016;388:S31.
Tobin C, Moodie AR, Livingstone C. A review of public opinion towards alcohol controls in Australia. BMC Public Health. 2011;11:58.
Moskalewicz J, Wieczorek Ł, Karlsson T, Österberg E. Social support for alcohol policy: literature review. Drugs Educ Prev Policy. 2013;20:361–74.
Savell E, Fooks G, Gilmore AB. How does the alcohol industry attempt to influence marketing regulations? A systematic review. Addiction. 2016;111(1):18–32.
O’Mara-Eves A, Brunton G, Oliver S, Kavanagh J, Jamal F, Thomas J. The effectiveness of community engagement in public health interventions for disadvantaged groups: a meta-analysis. BMC Public Health. 2015;15:129.
Health Research Board Alcohol Diary Study 2013: Technical Report. In: Ipsos MRBI, editor. Dublin: Health Research Board; 2014.
Li J, Lovatt M, Eadie D, Dobbie F, Meier P, Holmes J, Hastings G, Mackintosh AM. Public attitudes towards alcohol control policies in Scotland and England: results from a mixed-methods study. Soc Sci Med. 2017;177:177–89.
Wilkinson C, Room R, Livingston M. Mapping Australian public opinion on alcohol policies in the new millennium. Drug Alcohol Rev. 2009;28:263–74.
Anderson P, Chisholm D, Fuhr DC. Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of policies and programmes to reduce the harm caused by alcohol. Lancet. 2009;373:2234–46.
Babor TF, Caetano R. Evidence-based alcohol policy in the Americas: strengths, weaknesses, and future challenges. Rev Panam Salud Públ. 2005;18:327–37.
Hope A. Alcohol’s harm to others in Ireland. Dublin: Health Service Executive; 2014.
Chisholm D, Rehm J, Van Ommeren M, Monteiro M. Reducing the global burden of hazardous alcohol use: a comparative cost-effectiveness analysis. J Stud Alcohol. 2004;65:782–93.
Room R. Alcohol problems and the city. Br J Addict. 1990;85:1395–402.
Department Of Health. Government approves groundbreaking legislation to tackle alcohol misuse—Varadkar. Dublin: Department of Health; 2015.
Letter To The Editor. Alcohol and minimum unit pricing. Dublin: The Irish Times; 2015.
D’arcy, C. Alcohol Bill may return to Seanad before summer. Dublin: The Irish Times; 2017.
Barry, J. Politics and the alcohol Bill. Dublin: The Irish Times; 2016.
Central Statistics Office Census 2016 Summary Results—Part 1. Cork; 2017.
Fisher RJ. Social desirability bias and the validity of indirect questioning. J Consum Res. 1993;20:303–15.
This work is supported by the Health Service Executive, grant CLDATF (HSE) ‘NCAAPP Evaluation’.
About this article
Cite this article
Davoren, M.P., Lane, D., Kirby, J. et al. Support for evidence-based alcohol policy in Ireland: results from the Community Action on Alcohol Pilot Project. J Public Health Pol 40, 76–90 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41271-018-0151-y
- Policy support
- Public health