Are we addressing alcohol-attributable deaths?
Background and Aims:
Harmful use of alcohol is a leading factor for mortality worldwide. More than 3 million people died as a result of harmful use of alcohol in 2016. One million of those deaths occurred in the WHO Europena Region. Eight years after the adoption of the WHO European Action Plan on Alcohol (EAPA),alcohol per capita consumption and related harm in the WHO European Region continues to be the highest in the world. Furthermore, people of low socioeconomic status have a several-fold higher mortality risk from alcohol compared to people with high socioeconomic status, contributing to social inequalities in health.
We examined national policies of 13 European countries, as of 2016, in three regulatory categories (alcohol beverages pricing policies, avaivability, marketing) and analyzed the restrictiveness of national alcohol policies using the WHO Policy Index Score.
Areas with lowest policy implementation in the studied countries are linked to pricing policies, marketing regulation and availability of alcoholic beverages.Challenges for implementation are linked to limited or reduced financial resources, lobbying and opposition from the private sector, low cross-sectorial cooperation, lack of enforcement, slow political progress, lack of political willingness, cultural resistance and liberal societal attitudes towards alcohol and intoxication.
Tools for comparing the restrictiveness of alcohol policies across counries are available and are important instruments to monitor alcohol policy developments. Composite indicators can facilitate a more systematic way to monitor and evaluate alcohol policy formulation and implementation. They may also play an essential role facilitating discussions for improved alcohol harm reduction policies implementation.