26 April 2017 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

OBJECTIVE: Evidence on the impact of legislative changes on individual alcohol consumption is limited. Using an observational study design, we assessed trends in individual alcohol consumption of a Swiss adult population following the public policy changes that took place between 1993 and 2014, while considering individual characteristics and secular trends.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.

SETTING: Swiss general adult population.

PARTICIPANTS: Data from 18 963 participants were collected between 1993 and 2014 (aged 18-75 years).

OUTCOME MEASURES: We used data from the 'Bus Sante' study, an annual health survey conducted in random samples of the adult population in the State of Geneva, Switzerland. Individual alcohol intake was assessed using a validated food frequency questionnaire. Individual characteristics including education were self-reported. 7 policy changes (6 about alcohol and 1 about tobacco) that occurred between 1993 and 2014 defined 6 different periods. We predicted alcohol intake using quantile regression with multivariate analysis for each period adjusting for participants' characteristics and tested significance periods. Sensitivity analysis was performed including drinkers only, the 10th centile of highest drinkers and smoker's status.

RESULTS: Between 1993 and 2014, participants' individual alcohol intake decreased from 7.1 to 5.4 g/day (24% reduction, p<0.001). Men decreased their alcohol intake by 34% compared with 22% for women (p<0.001). The decrease in alcohol intake remained significant when considering drinkers only (28% decrease, p<0.001) and the 10th centile highest drinkers (24% decrease, p<0.001). Consumption of all alcoholic beverages decreased between 1993 and 2014 except for the moderate consumption of beer, which increased. After adjustment for participants' characteristics and secular trends, no independent association between alcohol legislative changes and individual alcohol intake was found.

CONCLUSIONS: Between 1993 and 2014, alcohol consumption decreased in the Swiss adult population independently of policy changes.

26 April 2017 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

The quantity and frequency of alcohol consumption are crucial both in risk assessment as well as epidemiological and clinical research. Using the Munich Composite International Diagnostic Interview (M-CIDI), drinking amounts have been assessed in numerous large-scale studies. However, the accuracy of this assessment has rarely been evaluated. This study evaluates the relevance of drink categories and pouring sizes, and the factors used to convert actual drinks into standard drinks. We compare the M-CIDI to alternative drink assessment instruments and empirically validate drink categories using a general population sample (n = 3165 from Germany), primary care samples (n = 322 from Italy, n = 1189 from Germany), and a non-representative set of k = 22503 alcoholic beverages sold in Germany in 2010-2016. The M-CIDI supplement sheet displays more categories than other instruments (AUDIT, TLFB, WHO-CIDI). Beer, wine, and spirits represent the most prevalent categories in the samples. The suggested standard drink conversion factors were inconsistent for different pouring sizes of the same drink and, to a smaller extent, across drink categories. For the use in Germany and Italy, we propose the limiting of drink categories and pouring sizes, and a revision of the proposed standard drinks. We further suggest corresponding examinations and revisions in other cultures.

26 April 2017 In Cancer

Humans are cumulatively exposed to acetaldehyde from various sources including alcoholic beverages, tobacco smoke, foods and beverages. The genetic-epidemiologic and biochemical evidence in ALDH2-deficient humans provides strong evidence for the causal relationship between acetaldehyde-exposure due to alcohol consumption and cancer of the upper digestive tract. The risk assessment has so far relied on thresholds based on animal toxicology with lower one-sided confidence limit of the benchmark dose values (BMDL) typically ranging between 11 and 63 mg/kg bodyweight (bw)/day dependent on species and endpoint. The animal data is problematic for regulatory toxicology for various reasons (lack in study quality, problems in animal models and appropriateness of endpoints - especially cancer - for transfer to humans). In this study, data from genetic epidemiologic and biochemical studies are reviewed. The increase in the daily exposure dose to acetaldehyde in alcohol-consuming ALDH2-deficients vs. ALDH2-actives was about twofold. The acetaldehyde increase due to ALDH2 inactivity was calculated to be 6.7 mug/kg bw/day for heavy drinkers, which is associated with odds ratios of up to 7 for head and neck as well as oesophageal cancer. Previous animal toxicology based risk assessments may have underestimated the risk of acetaldehyde. Risk assessments of acetaldehyde need to be revised using this updated evidence.

27 February 2017 In Social and Cultural Aspects

BACKGROUND: Many countries use warnings in an attempt to regulate alcohol consumption. However, there is a lack of conclusive evidence in the research on alcohol warnings to support decision-making on effective health policies. This study explores the effectiveness of two mandatory warnings introduced in France in 1991 and 2007: the first ("Alcohol abuse is harmful") is displayed on advertisements; the second (a pictogram) on bottles. Given that advertising content regulations have been implemented in some countries to reduce the attractiveness of alcohol marketing (e.g., the Evin law in France), this research also aims to explore whether such regulations can improve the effectiveness of warnings.

METHOD: In-depth interviews were conducted with 26 French people aged 15-29. The effectiveness of health warnings was assessed in terms of recall, noticeability, credibility, comprehension, responsiveness and ability to encourage moderate drinking and abstinence during pregnancy. Participants were shown advertisements and bottles that either followed or challenged content regulations. The data was analysed using double manual coding and NVivo software.

RESULTS: While both warnings suffered from a lack of visibility and noticeability due to their size, location, outdatedness and because of competition from marketing design elements, the warning on the advertisement that followed content regulations was most visible. Both warnings were considered to be informationally vague, lacking in credibility and ineffective in terms of making participants feel concerned and influencing consumption habits.

CONCLUSION: Current French warnings are ineffective and require modification. Improvements are suggested regarding the design and content of warnings to help increase their effectiveness.

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