The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

5147.0: Wednesday, November 13, 2002 - Table 5

Abstract #42540

Assessment of state laws mandating or promoting responsible beverage service programs

James F. Mosher, JD1, Traci L. Toomey, PhD2, Charles Good, JD3, Eileen Harwood, PhD2, and Alex Wagenaar, PhD2. (1) Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, 6116 Highway 9, Suite 6A, Felton, CA 95018, 831-335-1000,, (2) Alcohol Epidemiology Program, University of Minnesota, Suite 300, 1300 S. 2nd St, Minneapolis, MN 55454-1015, (3) Division of Epidemiology, Unversity of Minnesota, 1300 South Second Street, Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN 55454-1015

This paper presents a qualitative analysis of the 23 state Resposible Beverage Service (RBS) laws to determine their effectiveness in mandating or encouraging high-quality RBS programs. There are 12 mandatory and 11 incentive-based state laws. We collected and analyzed relevant statutory and regulatory materials from each state, augmenting our legal analysis with data collected from telephone surveys of Alcoholic Beverage Control agency staff. We examined five key components: program requirements, administrative requirements, enforcement provisions, penalties for lack of compliance, and benefits for participation (incentive states only). We ranked states across each of these components, with the rankings based on an examination of secondary legal and social science sources. Our analysis demonstrated that most state RBS legislation includes important weaknesses that undermine its effectiveness in promoting effective RBS programs. Only two states (Oregon and New Mexico) received high ratings across most of the components, but even these two states had weak enforcement programs that undermined the laws’ effectiveness. In addition, some states weakened other proven prevention strategies (e.g. protrecting licensees from dram shop liability law suits or weakening efforts to enforce underage sales laws) at the same time that they enacted weak RBS laws. The result, at least potentially, is a net loss to public health objectives, and reflects a tradeoff made by legislatures between public health and alcohol industry interests. Our conclusion summarizes the public health implications of the findings and provides recommendations for drafting effective RBS legislation that protects and furthers public health goals.

Learning Objectives:

  • At the close of this presentation, participants will be able to

    Keywords: Alcohol Problems, Legislative

    Presenting author's disclosure statement:
    I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

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    The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA