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Overturn of the proposed alcohol advertising ban in Lithuania

Authors

  • Ernesta Paukštė,

    Corresponding author
    1. Population and Social Health Research Program, Griffith Health Institute, Gold Coast, Qld, Australia
    2. School of Medicine, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Qld, Australia
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  • Vaida Liutkutė,

    1. Health Research Institute, Faculty of Public Health, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Kaunas, Lithuania
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  • Mindaugas Štelemėkas,

    1. Health Research Institute, Faculty of Public Health, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Kaunas, Lithuania
    2. Department of Health Psychology, Faculty of Public Health, Lithuanian University of health Sciences, Kaunas, Lithuania
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  • Nijolė Goštautaitė Midttun,

    1. Department of Health Psychology, Faculty of Public Health, Lithuanian University of health Sciences, Kaunas, Lithuania
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  • Aurelijus Veryga

    1. Health Research Institute, Faculty of Public Health, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Kaunas, Lithuania
    2. Department of Health Psychology, Faculty of Public Health, Lithuanian University of health Sciences, Kaunas, Lithuania
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Abstract

Background

In response to the dramatic increase in alcohol-related problems in Lithuania, policy measures, including alcohol advertising and availability restrictions combined with taxation increase, were implemented in 2007–08. Simultaneously, a full alcohol advertising ban was adopted to take effect from 1 January 2012. Therefore, the alcohol industry responded with extensive lobbying aiming to revoke this ban, and ultimately they succeeded at the end of December 2011.

Aim

To document and analyse actions of stakeholders and events during the alcohol advertising ban cancellation process in Lithuania.

Methods

Policy analysis includes a development of event time-line, description of key stakeholders' actions and a review of policy context.

Findings

The alcohol industry in Lithuania used similar tactics as the tobacco industry globally, such as creating strong and diverse opposing groups. The industry successfully exerted pressure to change alcohol control legislation, while non-governmental organizations had the important role of a watchdog, blunting industry's efforts. Unequal power distribution made it difficult to withstand combined local and international lobbying to cancel the ban.

Conclusion

Given the global nature of the alcohol industry, there is a need for international regulation to limit the influence of vested interests on national lawmaking.

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