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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Views of alcohol control policies in the 2000 National Alcohol Survey: What news for alcohol policy development in the US and its States?
Journal of Substance Use, Volume 12, Issue 6 December 2007 , pages 429 - 445

This article examines public opinion in US alcohol policies during the 1990s and their correlates in 2000, using five national telephone surveys.

Trend analyses of public opinion on 11 common alcohol policies is presented and factor-based policy scales, based on 14 items in 2000, are used to examine demographic correlates of support for various policy areas, using bivariate, linear (OLS) and logistic regression analyses.

With the exception of the alcohol warning label policy, national support for alcohol policies declined (eight policies) or was unchanged in the 1990s for 11 measured policies. In 2000, four meaningful policy opinion factors were found with adequate reliabilities (agrs 0.65-0.75) for three of four derived scales.

In 2000, support for specific policies varies. Warnings on labels and advertisements have highest support (>90%), then interventions like prevention, treatment, and responsible beverage service at 70% (with similar levels seen for improving access to treatment). Alcohol controls show varied, but lower support from 25% (raising minimum drinking age further), to above 60% for banning sales in corner stores; only about a third favor higher alcohol taxes (35%) and more restrictive hours of sale (32%).

In general, women and those with lower socio-economic status show higher alcohol policy support. Multivariate results show heavier drinkers are least supportive of alcohol policy, while ethnic minorities, especially Hispanics are more favorable to alcohol controls and raising alcohol taxes.

Since evidence-based alcohol control policies show mixed, but lower public support than treatment, prevention and consumer warnings, there is a need for community-based strategies to increase awareness of environmentally orientated alcohol policies and their public health benefits.

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