Since its debut five years ago, Facebook has grown exponentially to include colleges and universities, high school and business networks, along with the general public around the globe. In that same time, Facebook also changed its advertising policies and regulations from not offering online advertising to soliciting paid advertisements for products and services including alcohol products. Although the company's policy requires paid advertisements for alcohol to include age restrictions, the policy is not enforced by Facebook, nor does the restriction requirement apply to other sources of alcohol content throughout Facebook. For this article, we explored the prevalence of alcohol-related content found in popular aspects of Facebook profiles. We also identified aspects of Facebook that contain a great deal of alcohol content and are accessible by anyone, regardless of age. We offer recommendations for both Facebook and the alcohol industry to remove paid ads and other types of content promoting alcohol products and dangerous drinking behaviors in order to protect youth and young adults from the harmful effects of alcohol advertising.

06 May 2014 In General Health

 

 

 

Many policy measures to control the obesity epidemic assume that people consciously and rationally choose what and how much they eat and therefore focus on providing information and more access to healthier foods. In contrast, many regulations that do not assume people make rational choices have been successfully applied to control alcohol, a substance - like food - of which immoderate consumption leads to serious health problems. Alcohol-use control policies restrict where, when, and by whom alcohol can be purchased and used. Access, salience, and impulsive drinking behaviors are addressed with regulations including alcohol outlet density limits, constraints on retail displays of alcoholic beverages, and restrictions on drink "specials." We discuss 5 regulations that are effective in reducing drinking and why they may be promising if applied to the obesity epidemic.

 

 

 

06 May 2014 In General Health

 

 

 

Alcohol, like mental health, is a neglected topic in public health discussions. However, it should be defined as a priority public health area because the evidence available to support this is very persuasive. Although only half the world's population drinks alcohol, it is the world's third leading cause of ill health and premature death, after low birth weight and unsafe sex, and the world's greatest cause of ill health and premature death among individuals between 25 and 59 years of age. This article aims to outline current global experiences with alcohol policies and suggests how to communicate better evidence-based policy responses to alcohol-related harm using narratives. The text summarizes 6 actions to provide incentives that would favor a healthier relationship with alcohol in contemporary society. Actions include price and availability changes, marketing regulations, changes in the format of drinking places and on the product itself, and actions designed to nudge people at the time of their purchasing decisions. Communicating alcohol narratives to policymakers more successfully will likely require a discourse emphasizing the reduction of heavy drinking occasions and the protection of others from someone else's problematic drinking.

 

 

 

The New Zealand Government is currently considering ways to reduce alcohol-related harm, following on from a detailed report by the Law Commission. To inform discussions we briefly summarise the benefits and harms of alcohol use in this country. The most substantive benefits to society are probably pleasure to users and economic benefits (largely to industry). The most substantive harms are probably those to mental and physical health, harm to society (e.g. from crime) and adverse net economic impacts. Overall the picture is suggestive that New Zealand society would be likely to achieve a large net benefit from reducing heavy and binge drinking, and shifting alcohol consumption towards a pattern of smaller amounts. The substantial harm to non-users is a key argument for democratic governments to use regulations and taxes to minimise harm from alcohol.

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