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  • Norine Cruse

It’s official – we are a boozy nation


Having spent the past few weeks attempting but failing miserably to watch television without a full on dose of sports it was blatantly obvious that with sports came alcohol advertising, like it or not. Viewers were literally bombarded multiple times a minute during the final rounds of AFL and NRL.

So who is watching this TV and what impact is it having on the audience?

‘Google’ it and see what you find..

I found the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE), an independent, not-for-profit organisation who surveys our nation annually on the subject of alcohol.

The survey sample is 1,820 respondents. A sample size of 1,820 allows accuracy within ±2.3% at the 95% confidence interval. The ‘Annual Alcohol Poll 2018 – Attitudes and Behaviours’ is available via their website and makes for interesting reading.

What I believe the survey found in a nutshell is that we are becoming more concerned about the negative effects of alcohol consumption however we are increasing the level of consumption. We appear to be worried, while we down the next glass of wine or beer. Are we hypocrites or what?

The following quoted statistics come from this report along with my interpretation. Read the report for yourself and draw your own conclusions.

THE FACTS

We are consuming more alcohol

In 2018 the proportion of those surveyed who consume alcohol increased:

  • 82% (up from 77% in 2017), largely attributable to an increase in the consumption of alcohol among men, to

  • 86% (up from 80% in 2017).

Bottled wine remains the drink of preference:

  • 29% of those surveyed indicating a preference for bottled wine

  • 22% regular strength beer

We don’t know enough about the health affects

Fewer than half of those surveyed are aware of the link between alcohol misuse and stroke (38%), mouth and throat cancer (26%) and breast cancer (16%).

The not so attractive side of excessive alcohol consumption

The three main alcohol-related problems associated with excess drinking or alcohol abuse that Australians are most concerned about are:

  • road traffic accidents (78%),

  • violence (75%) and

  • child abuse and neglect (70%).

The top three concerns remain consistent with 2017, however, there has been an increase in the proportion of Australians concerned about health problems (from 53% to 57%).

Alcohol and violence – alcohol harm

More than one third of those surveyed (37%) indicated that they have been affected by alcohol-related violence in this year’s Poll, with almost half of these (47%) indicating they have been affected by alcohol-related violence in the last 12 months.

One in four (23%) parents with a child under 18 reported that their child has been harmed or put at risk of harm because of someone else’s drinking.

Children exposed to alcohol advertising

Three quarters (74%) of parents believed their child under the age of 18 has been exposed to alcohol advertising, consistent with 2017 findings.

Almost half of parents indicated that their child has been exposed to alcohol advertising at a supermarket or shopping centre (48%), through the radio, television or cinema (43%) or at a sporting, musical or cultural event (42%).

Banning alcohol advertising in sport

Two thirds (67%) of Australians support placing a ban on alcohol advertising on television before 8.30pm, consistent with 2017 (68%).

Just over half of Australians (52%) believe alcohol sponsorship should not be allowed at sporting events (consistent with 2017, 55%),

  • 51% support limiting the number of alcohol outlets to reduce alcohol related family violence, and

  • 47% support increasing the tax on alcohol to pay for health, education and treatment of alcohol-related problems.

The argument of course is that sport needs alcohol money to survive, but we used to hear the same from the tobacco lobby and that has been proven to be incorrect.

‘Uber’ alcohol (and other forms on delivery services)

In 2018, for the first time, Australians were asked about their use of alcohol delivery services. 30% of Australian drinkers surveyed reported having used an alcohol delivery service, with

  • 15% most commonly delivery services provided by bottle shops,

  • 12% online wine distributors, and

  • 10% alcohol producers such as wineries, breweries and distilleries.

92% have used an alcohol delivery service have used one in the past 12 months with one in four (23%) reporting that they use an alcohol delivery service weekly or more often.

The main reasons alcohol delivery services are used are because they are seen to provide better value for money (36%), convenience of delivery straight to your door (34%) and discounts offered for bulk purchase (28%).

Finally, this snapshot from the report says it all

'Annual Alcohol Poll 2018 – Attitudes and Behaviours’ Alcohol harm in Australia is significant.

More than 5,500 lives are lost every year and more than 157,000 people are hospitalised making alcohol one of our nation’s greatest preventive health challenges.

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