Working to reduce alcohol harm

Another ‘Leaving Cert’ celebration begins without adequate legislation in place to protect young people.

As another season of post Leaving Certificate results parties begins, Alcohol Action has called on government and the Oireachtas to finally act and pass the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill before next year’s celebrations comes around. Commenting on this year’s activity, Eunan McKinney, Head of Communications and Advocacy at Alcohol Action Ireland, said:

 

‘Priced based promotions continue to be used extensively to attract young people, who are keenly price-sensitive and often deliberately targeted by these promotions.

 

A review of social media postings from a variety of night clubs and bars this week highlights the widespread use of such promotional tools, with admission charges typically co-related to a specific number of available drinks; a variety of drinks being available to a certain admission price, or packages of reduced priced drinks being made available to certain groups.

 

These promotions are extremely attractive to customers, particularly young people, but only encourage high risk, harmful drinking that is such a threat to their health and wellbeing.’

 

The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, which has now languished before the Oireachtas for over 600 days, world establish firm restrictions on the use of such price-based promotions, regulating:

· Selling or supplying alcohol products free of charge or at a reduced price to a particular category of people.

· Selling or supplying alcohol products during a limited period (three days or less) at a price less than was being charged for those same products the day before the offer began.

· Selling or supplying alcohol products free of charge or at a reduced price to someone because they have bought a certain quantity of alcohol products or any other product or service.

· Promoting a business or event in a way that it intended or likely to cause people to drink in a harmful manner.

The Bill states that the provisions regarding price-based promotions also include the award, directly or indirectly, of bonus points, loyalty card points or similar benefit for purchasing alcohol products, which can be used to obtain alcohol products or other products or services free of charge or at a reduced price.

 

The principal purpose of regulating price-based promotions is to reduce the health harms from high risk alcohol consumption, but it would also likely have a positive impact on alcohol-fuelled crime, such as public order offences, and fewer alcohol related accidents.