Online Program

Global concentration of high risk product industries: Implications for alcohol control policies

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 3:15 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Thomas Babor, PhD, Department of Community Medicine and Health Care, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT
The concept of corporation-induced diseases and epidemics associated with dangerous consumer products has a long history in tobacco control, but little attention has been devoted to the application of this concept to an understanding of the public health response to the social and health problems associated alcohol misuse. This paper applies an epidemiological cascade framework to an analysis of the causal mechanisms accounting for health problem epidemics associated with the increasing availability of alcohol products in Africa, Latin America and the United Kingdom. The concentration of the beer and spirits industries has resulted in the application of common strategies to increase alcohol availability, affordability and attractiveness. These strategies include aggressive marketing activities, new product designs, lobbying against evidence-based policies, strategic partnerships with NGOs and academics, scientific research programs, use of legal action and donations to stop public health measures, promotion of marketing self-regulation schemes and corporate social responsibility projects. Implications for research, theory and public health policy are discussed. Research needs to apply new qualitative methods and quasi-experimental research designs to the analysis of corporate strategies. Theory testing needs to apply new research methods to the evaluation of corporation-induced disease and the effectiveness of alcohol control policies.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Public health or related public policy
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Analyze the causal mechanisms accounting for alcohol problem epidemics Discuss three strategies used by the beer and spirits industries to increase alcohol availability, affordability and attractiveness. Explain the Implications of the global concentration of the alcohol industry for research, theory and public health policy Assess the strengths and weaknesses of preventive measures to limit alcohol consumption.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal or co-principal of multiple federally funded grants focusing on the treatment and prevention of alcohol dependence, and have co-authored a book on alcohol control policy, which includes several chapters on the alcohol industry.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.