WHO Europe have published a report that summarises the current evidence base for alcohol pricing policies and considers how this compares to current policies in place across the World Health Organization (WHO) European Region. Intended as a resource for governments and implementers, the report highlights challenges to effective pricing policies and provides recommendations for policy actions on alcohol pricing in the WHO European Region.
Key policy recommendations include
Alcohol taxation should be levied on a specific basis and indexed to inflation to ensure prices do not fall in real terms over time.
Alcohol duty rates should be broadly similar across all products, with the exception of high-strength alcohol and products with low production costs.
MUP is an effective approach to reducing alcohol-related harm which should be considered alongside taxation policies.
The implementation of policies to address unrecorded consumption alongside pricing policies may increase their effectiveness or, in some cases, be pivotal to their success.
A second WHO Europe report analyses the current state of regulation concerning marketing of alcoholic beverages in Europe. It shows that, although most countries in the World Health Organization (WHO) European Region have some form of marketing regulation, very few have statutory bans to limit the marketing of alcohol beverages. In addition, the report highlights examples of current effective European alcohol marketing restrictions aimed at protecting young people that have been adopted in some countries in the Region.
In recent years, online platforms have played an increasingly important role in alcohol advertising and marketing, and many countries have updated their legislation in order to mirror the current situation. The report gives an account of online formats used for alcohol marketing and the ways in which they pose challenges for regulation, control and monitoring. It further discusses the need to develop protocols for distinguishing native advertising, user-generated content, and other commercial messages that may be difficult to identify as commercial messages. The real senders of such material are consumers, sometimes teenagers and children.
The report concludes that the global nature of alcohol marketing, and the ease with which it transcends national borders, necessitate regional and global responses, as well as national ones, and that opportunities exist to implement comprehensive, statutory regulations restricting or banning alcohol marketing to protect children and adolescents. In addition, increased awareness of the extensive challenges posed by online marketing, and political commitment to deal with them, are needed throughout Europe.