Alcohol Control Policy in Europe: Overview and Exemplary Countries
Alcohol is a major risk factor for burden of disease. However, there are known effective and cost-effective alcohol control policies that could reduce this burden. Based on reviews, international documents, and contributions to this special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH), this article gives an overview of the implementation of such policies in the World Health Organization (WHO) European Region, and of best practices.
Overall, there is a great deal of variability in the policies implemented between countries, but two countries, the Russian Federation and Lithuania, have both recently implemented significant increases in alcohol taxation, imposed restrictions on alcohol availability, and imposed bans on the marketing and advertising of alcohol within short time spans. Both countries subsequently saw significant decreases in consumption and all-cause mortality.
Adopting the alcohol control policies of these best-practice countries should be considered by other countries.
Current challenges for all countries include cross-border shopping, the impact from recent internet-based marketing practices, and international treaties.