Regulating the physical availability of alcohol

Thomas Babor, Harold Holder, Raul Caetano, Ross Homel, Sally Casswell, Michael Livingston, Griffith Edwards, Esa Österberg, Norman Giesbrecht, Jürgen Rehm, Kathryn Graham, Robin Room, Joel Grube, Ingeborg Rossow and Linda Hill

in Alcohol: No Ordinary Commodity

Second edition

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780199551149
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191720642 | DOI:
Regulating the physical availability of alcohol

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This chapter reviews the scientific evidence on limiting the physical availability of beverage alcohol as an approach to reducing alcohol consumption and problems. It considers alcohol in terms of its availability both as a retail product and as beverage obtained through social sources. Studies of restrictions on alcohol availability support the conclusion that such strategies can contribute to the reduction of alcohol problems. The best available evidence comes from studies of changes in retail availability, including reductions in the hours and days of sale, limits on the number of alcohol outlets, and restrictions on retail access to alcohol. These studies consistently show that restrictions on availability are associated with reductions in both alcohol use and alcohol-related problems. Although total bans on alcohol sales have been found to markedly reduce alcohol consumption and problems, they can give rise to new problems, particularly through the development of an illegal market. Such measures also require comprehensive enforcement to ensure effectiveness.

Keywords: alcohol availability; alcohol policy; alcohol market; access control

Chapter.  10549 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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