Making changes to the environment where risky behaviour takes place has the potential to reduce harmful outcomes. 1 This includes action such as controlling alcohol sales, pricing or the density and number of outlets A A recent review of evidence by Public Health England found that policies that reduce the affordability of alcohol are the most effective, and cost-effective, approaches to prevention and health improvement. 2

Implementing a minimum unit price (MUP) was found to be a highly targeted measure which improves the health of the heaviest drinkers who are experiencing the greatest amount of harm.

Stronger regulation of the licensing of alcohol outlets in a local area is associated with a greater reduction in alcohol-related harm within the population – for example, as reflected in the number of hospital admissions. 3Conversely, increasing the hours of sale by two hours or more is associated with greater alcohol-related harm. 4

Alcohol advertising has a positive and direct impact on alcohol consumption by young people, which indicates that work to reduce exposure to advertising is likely to impact on drinking behaviours. 5

Some work is underway to address the alcohol environment locally in Hackney, as described in Section 4.7. However, there are some limitations in the extent to which local government can influence these wider environmental forces, especially in relation to alcohol pricing and advertising, which require national legislation to address comprehensively.

Notes

  1. For further consideration of health and the local planning and licensing environment, see the ‘Society and environment’ JSNA chapter

References

  1. Public Health England, “The international evidence on prevention of drug and alcohol misuse,” 2015. [Online]. Available: http://www.nta.nhs.uk/uploads/unodc-prevention-guide.pdf. [Accessed 15 August 2016].
  2. Public Health England, “The Public Health Burden of Alcohol and the Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of Alcohol Control Policies: An evidence review,” 2016. [Online]. Available: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/574427/Alcohol_public_health_burden_evidence_review.pdf. [Accessed 8 12 2016].

  3. de Vocht F., Heron J., Angus C. et al. , “Measurable effects of local alcohol licensing policies on population health in England,” Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health:, vol. 70, no. 3, p. 231–237. http://findings.org.uk/PHP/dl.php?file=de_Vocht_, 2016.
  4. City and Hackney, “Mental Health and Substance Misuse Needs Assessment,” 2014.
  5. Brujin et al , “European longitudinal study on the relationship between adolescents’ alcohol marketing exposure and alcohol use,” Addiction , vol. 111, no. 8, p. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/add.13455/full, 2016.