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Current status of alcohol marketing policy—an urgent challenge for global governance


  • Sally Casswell

    Corresponding author
    1. SHORE (Social and Health Outcomes Research and Evaluation), SHORE and Whariki Research Centre, School of Public Health, Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand
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Sally Casswell, Centre for Social and Health Outcomes Research and Evaluation (SHORE), Massey University, PO Box 6137, Wellesley Street, Auckland 1141, New Zealand. E-mail:


Aims  To review research literature and available information on the extent and impacts of marketing, current policy response and the interests engaged in the policy debate in order to inform recommendations for policy change on alcohol marketing.

Methods  Relevant literature, including systematic reviews and publicly available information (websites and participant observation) is reviewed and synthesized.

Results  Alcohol marketing has expanded markedly in the past 50 years and, while there remains uncertainty about the impact across the population, there is now clear evidence of its impact on the consumption of young people. Few countries have effective policy in place restricting alcohol marketing, and there is a lack of an international response to alcohol marketing which crosses national boundaries. The protection of alcohol marketing has been a major focus for vested interest groups and this has affected governmental response at national and international levels. There has been a lack of non-governmental organization engagement. The policy response to tobacco marketing provides a clear contrast to that of alcohol marketing policy and provides a model for alcohol marketing policy.

Conclusion  The global exposure of young people to alcohol marketing requires an urgent policy response. The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control provides an appropriate model for global governance to control alcohol marketing. There are extant examples of national level legislation achieving comprehensive bans with France's Loi Evin providing a feasible model. Resources from philanthropic organizations to allow non-governmental organization engagement are urgently required, as is engagement by the governmental sector independent of commercial influence.