Impact of alcohol policy measures on young risky drinkers

February 2016
Lam, T., Lenton, S., Chikritzhs, T.N., Gilmore, W., Burns, L., Aiken, A., Ogeil, R., Lloyd, B., Lubman, D., Mattick, R., & Allsop, S. (2015). Designed to protect: Impact of alcohol policy measures on young risky drinkers. Young Australians Alcohol Reporting System Bulletin 3.

This bulletin from the Young Australians Alcohol Reporting System (YAARS) describes some of the impacts of existing alcohol availability policies on young Australian risky drinkers, and gauges their support for proposed measures.

YAARS found that age based restrictions on alcohol are commonly circumvented by young risky drinkers. The majority (51%) of 16-17 year olds who had previously attempted to enter a licensed venue reported they did not have their ID checked the last time they attempted entry. Almost half (49%) of participants aged under 18 who had tried to purchase alcohol from a bottle shop rated it as easy or very easy the last time they tried.

A large body of past research indicates that price consistently has an impact on consumption. YAARS found support for an increase in price among one of the populations at greatest risk of alcohol related harm. Two-thirds (65%) of young risky drinkers supported increasing the price of a standard drink by 20¢ if the extra 20¢ was used to support prevention and treatment of alcohol problems. Similarly modest taxes have previously been found to reduce alcohol related mortality.

Young Australians appear to support price-based alcohol taxation measures so long as the extra funds are earmarked for prevention and treatment of alcohol-related problems.