Benchmarking alcohol policy based on stringency and impact: The International Alcohol Control (IAC) policy index
journal contributionposted on 2022-05-03, 07:22 authored by Sally Casswell, Taisia Huckle, Karl Parker, Jose Romeo, Thomas Graydon-Guy, June Leung, Karimu Byron, Sarah CallinanSarah Callinan, Surasak Chaiyasong, Ross Gordon, Anne Marie MacKintosh, Petra Meier, Guillermo Paraje, Charles D Parry, Cuong Pham, Petal Petersen Williams, Steve Randerson, Karen Schelleman-Offermans, Gantuya Sengee, Perihan Torun, Wim van Dalen, Nadine Harker
This study developed a measurement tool to assess stringency and ‘on-the-ground’ impact of four key alcohol policy domains to create an alcohol policy index suitable for benchmarking alcohol policy and assessing change over time in middle- and high-income countries. It involved a collaboration between researchers in 12 diverse countries: New Zealand; Australia; England; Scotland; Netherlands; Vietnam; Thailand; South Africa; Turkey; Chile; Saint Kitts and Nevis and Mongolia. Data on the four most effective alcohol policy domains (availability, pricing policy, alcohol marketing, drink driving) were used to create an alcohol policy index based on their association with alcohol per capita consumption (APC) of commercial (recorded) alcohol. An innovation was the inclusion of measures of impact along with the stringency of the legislation or regulation. The resulting International Alcohol Control (IAC) Policy Index showed a very high negative correlation (-0.91) with recorded APC. Greater affordability of alcohol, an impact measure taking into account prices paid and countries’ Gross Domestic Product, was predictive of higher APC (-0.80). Countries in which more modes of alcohol marketing are legally allowed and used had higher APC. Legislation on outlet density and drink driving predicted APC whereas trading hours did not. While stringency and impact measures varied between domains in terms of relationship with APC, overall, there was a strong correlation between impact and stringency (0.77). The IAC Policy Index, which includes measures of policy stringency and ‘on-the-ground’ impacts in relation to four key policy areas, was found to be strongly associated with commercial alcohol consumed in a number of diverse country settings. It showed a larger relationship than previous indices that include more policy dimensions. The index provides a relatively simple tool for benchmarking and communication with policy makers to encourage a strong focus on uptake of these four most effective alcohol policies.