Long-term trends in alcohol policy attitudes in Norway

Authors

  • Ingeborg Rossow,

    Corresponding author
    1. Norwegian Institute for Alcohol and Drug Research, Oslo, Norway
    • Correspondence to Dr Ingeborg Rossow, Norwegian Institute for Alcohol and Drug Research, POB 565 Sentrum, N-0105 Oslo, Norway. Tel: +47 406 26 039; Fax: +47 2234 0401; E-mail: ir@sirus.no

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  • Elisabet E. Storvoll

    1. Norwegian Institute for Alcohol and Drug Research, Oslo, Norway
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  • Ingeborg Rossow PhD, Researcher, Elisabet E. Storvoll PhD, Research Director.

Abstract

Introduction and Aims

The aim of this study was to describe trends in attitudes to alcohol control policies in Norway over a period of 50 years and to discuss how these trends relate to developments in alcohol policy.

Design and Methods

Survey data from 17 national population surveys, national statistics and previous publications were applied to describe trends in attitudes to alcohol control polices (access to alcohol and price) and changes in these policies over the period 1962 to 2012.

Results

From 1962 to 1999, an increasing proportion of the population reported that regulations on availability of alcohol were too strict and that alcohol prices were too high, whereas in the 2000s this trend was reversed and support for existing control policies increased. Although the pillars of Norwegian alcohol policy—high prices, restricted access and a state monopoly on retail sales—remained, control policies were gradually relaxed throughout the entire period.

Discussion and Conclusions

Relaxation of strict alcohol control policies in Norway in the first four decades were probably, in part, the result of increasingly liberal public opinion. The subsequent reversed trend in opinions with increasing support for control policies may be due to several factors, for example, consumer-oriented changes in the monopoly system, increased availability and affordability, increased awareness of alcohol-related harm and the effectiveness of control policies. Thus, the dynamics of policies and attitudes may well change over time. [Rossow I, Storvoll E E. Long-term trends in alcohol policy attitudes in Norway.Drug Alcohol Rev 2014;33:220–226]

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