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1.
Occup Environ Med ; 79(1): 46-48, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1403103

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To assess how different bans on serving alcohol in Norwegian bars and restaurants were related to the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in bartenders and waiters and in persons in any occupation. METHODS: In 25 392 bartenders and waiters and 1 496 328 persons with other occupations (mean (SD) age 42.0 (12.9) years and 51.8% men), we examined the weekly rates of workers tested and detected with SARS-CoV-2, 1-10 weeks before and 1-5 weeks after implementation of different degrees of bans on serving alcohol in pubs and restaurants, across 102 Norwegian municipalities with: (1) full blanket ban, (2) partial ban with hourly restrictions (eg, from 22:00 hours) or (3) no ban, adjusted for age, sex, testing behaviour and population size. RESULTS: By 4 weeks after the implementation of ban, COVID-19 infection among bartenders and waiters had been reduced by 60% (from 2.8 (95% CI 2.0 to 3.6) to 1.1 (95% CI 0.5 to 1.6) per 1000) in municipalities introducing full ban, and by almost 50% (from 2.5 (95% CI 1.5 to 3.5) to 1.3 (95% CI 0.4 to 2.2) per 1000) in municipalities introducing partial ban. A similar reduction within 4 weeks was also observed for workers in all occupations, both in municipalities with full (from 1.3 (95% CI 1.3 to 1.4) to 0.9 (95% CI 0.9 to 1.0)) and partial bans (from 1.2 (95% CI 1.1 to 1.3) to 0.5 (95% CI 0.5 to 0.6)). CONCLUSION: Partial bans on serving alcohol in bars and restaurants may be similarly associated with declines in confirmed COVID-19 infection as full bans.


Subject(s)
Alcohol Drinking/legislation & jurisprudence , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Health Policy/legislation & jurisprudence , Restaurants/legislation & jurisprudence , SARS-CoV-2 , Workforce , Adult , Cities/legislation & jurisprudence , Communicable Disease Control/methods , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Norway/epidemiology
2.
S Afr Med J ; 111(9): 834-837, 2021 07 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1404036

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) restrictions, particularly relating to the sale of alcohol and hours of curfew, have had a marked effect on the temporal pattern of unnatural deaths in South Africa. Methods. Death data were collected over 68 weeks from January 2020 to April 2021, together with information on the nature of restrictions (if any) on the sale of alcohol, and hours of curfew. Data were analysed using a simple ordinary least square (OLS) regression model to estimate the relative contribution of restrictions on the sale of alcohol and hours of curfew to the pattern of excess unnatural deaths. Results. The complete restriction on the sale of alcohol resulted in a statistically significant reduction in unnatural deaths regardless of the length of curfew. To the contrary, periods where no or limited restrictions on alcohol were in force had no significant effect, or resulted in significantly increased unnatural deaths. Conclusions. The present study highlights an association between alcohol availability and the number of unnatural deaths and demonstrates the extent to which those deaths might be averted by disrupting the alcohol supply. While this is not a long-term solution to addressing alcohol-related harm, it further raises the importance of implementing evidence-based alcohol control measures.


Subject(s)
Alcohol Drinking/legislation & jurisprudence , Alcoholic Beverages/legislation & jurisprudence , COVID-19 , Commerce/legislation & jurisprudence , Alcoholic Beverages/economics , Cause of Death , Humans , Social Control, Formal , South Africa , Time Factors
3.
Nutrients ; 13(8)2021 Aug 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1367877

ABSTRACT

Evidence for effective government policies to reduce exposure to alcohol's carcinogenic and hepatoxic effects has strengthened in recent decades. Policies with the strongest evidence involve reducing the affordability, availability and cultural acceptability of alcohol. However, policies that reduce population consumption compete with powerful commercial vested interests. This paper draws on the Canadian Alcohol Policy Evaluation (CAPE), a formal assessment of effective government action on alcohol across Canadian jurisdictions. It also draws on alcohol policy case studies elsewhere involving attempts to introduce minimum unit pricing and cancer warning labels on alcohol containers. Canadian governments collectively received a failing grade (F) for alcohol policy implementation during the most recent CAPE assessment in 2017. However, had the best practices observed in any one jurisdiction been implemented consistently, Canada would have received an A grade. Resistance to effective alcohol policies is due to (1) lack of public awareness of both need and effectiveness, (2) a lack of government regulatory mechanisms to implement effective policies, (3) alcohol industry lobbying, and (4) a failure from the public health community to promote specific and feasible actions as opposed to general principles, e.g., 'increased prices' or 'reduced affordability'. There is enormous untapped potential in most countries for the implementation of proven strategies to reduce alcohol-related harm. While alcohol policies have weakened in many countries during the COVID-19 pandemic, societies may now also be more accepting of public health-inspired policies with proven effectiveness and potential economic benefits.


Subject(s)
Alcohol Drinking/legislation & jurisprudence , Alcoholic Beverages/legislation & jurisprudence , Health Policy , Public Health , Alcohol Drinking/adverse effects , Alcoholic Beverages/economics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Canada , Commerce/economics , Commerce/standards , Costs and Cost Analysis , Government Programs , Government Regulation , Humans , Pandemics , Product Labeling/legislation & jurisprudence , Public Policy , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
5.
Transl Behav Med ; 11(3): 772-774, 2021 04 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1087812

ABSTRACT

Many young adults in the United States (U.S.) moved from college accommodations to live with their parents/family during the Spring 2020 semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While alcohol consumption fluctuates during a typical semester among students, the impact of the sudden changes stemming from the pandemic on students' alcohol consumption patterns is unclear. To examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on college student alcohol consumption while accounting for legal drinking age and living situation. Data were collected from students (n = 302) at a large, northeastern U.S. university at the beginning and end of the of the 2019 and 2020 Spring semesters via an online survey that assessed socio-demographic characteristics (age, gender, race/ethnicity, living situation) and alcohol consumption using the daily drinking questionnaire. Data were analyzed using a 2 (cohort group: COVID-19 vs. normal) × 2 (age group: above 21 vs. under 21) × 2 (time: beginning vs. end of the semester) mixed model ANOVA. There was a significant three-way interaction. Students over the legal drinking age impacted by the pandemic demonstrated a drastic decrease in alcohol consumption by the end of the semester compared to those under normal circumstances. Change in living situation as a result of the pandemic drastically impacted the alcohol consumption patterns of students over the legal drinking age. Suggestions for future research on the continuing effects of the pandemic on students are discussed.


Subject(s)
Alcohol Drinking/epidemiology , COVID-19 , Students/statistics & numerical data , Adolescent , Adult , Alcohol Drinking/legislation & jurisprudence , Alcohol Drinking in College , Family , Female , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Residence Characteristics , United States/epidemiology , Universities , Young Adult
6.
Drug Alcohol Depend ; 221: 108607, 2021 04 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1084534

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In Thailand, alcohol is consumed in social setting. The Thai government introduced a ban on alcohol sales and other measures at the beginning of COVID-19 lockdown with gradual lifts. However, drinking behaviors, behaviors of community members, and alcohol marketing activities during the ban and lifts have not been described. METHODS: We contracted a survey research firm to conduct four phone-based cross-sectional surveys between April and July 2020 (n = 6239 participants in total). Participants were recruited from all regions and Bangkok. We also summarized alcohol control measures as reported by multiple sources. We analyzed data from Waves 1 thru 4 using descriptive statistics with adjustment for sampling weight. RESULTS: A total of 6239 persons participated in the 4 waves of surveys. Among survey respondents who were drinkers, half did not drink alcohol during the alcohol sale ban while one-third reported drinking less than usual in the past 30 days. Almost no participant reported drinking more than usual. During the ban (Wave 1), one-sixth of respondents noticed social drinking in their areas while less than 6 percent reported witnessing alcohol sale. Online parties were the predominant alcohol marketing activity, but became less common during Wave 3 compared to Wave 2. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: Ever drinkers either abstained from alcohol or drank less than usual during the ban on alcohol sale. However, social drinking and alcohol sale persisted despite the ban.


Subject(s)
Alcohol Drinking/legislation & jurisprudence , COVID-19/prevention & control , Commerce/legislation & jurisprudence , Communicable Disease Control/methods , Adolescent , Adult , Alcohol Drinking/epidemiology , Alcohol Drinking/trends , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Interviews as Topic , Male , Middle Aged , Self Report , Thailand/epidemiology , Young Adult
7.
Int J Drug Policy ; 87: 102984, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-872018

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Sudden alcohol prohibition in India during the COVID-19 pandemic presented an opportunity to test whether Google Trends data could indicate population responses and the public health impact of alcohol policy. We hypothesized, following prohibition: there would be a significant change in the relative search volumes (RSV) of alcohol-related queries; that temporal analysis of the trends would reflect a public response to policy changes; and that geospatial analysis of RSV would correlate with the prevalence of alcohol use. METHODS: Three different search periods were used to test the hypotheses. The search inputs were based on potential public response to alcohol prohibition, as evidenced by the literature, newspaper articles, and consensus. We used RSV as the unit of analysis. Mean RSV of search queries, pre-post implementation of prohibition, were compared. Smoothing of scatter plots examined the temporal association of trends with policy measures. Multiple linear regression tested the relationship of state-wise RSV and alcohol use prevalence. RESULTS: Post-implementation of prohibition, a significant increase in the RSV was observed for searches related to alcohol withdrawal (p<0.001), how to extract alcohol from sanitizer (p = 0.002), alcohol home delivery online (p<0.001), alcohol home delivery (p<0.001), and sleeping pills (p = 0.006). The trends suggested a decrease in general interest in alcohol but increased demand, and a possible connection with changes in policy measures. State-level RSV and alcohol use prevalence did not reveal a significant relationship. CONCLUSION: Google trend is a potential source of rapid feedback to policymakers about population responses to an abrupt change in alcohol policies.


Subject(s)
Alcohol Drinking/legislation & jurisprudence , Alcoholic Beverages/legislation & jurisprudence , COVID-19 , Public Policy , Search Engine/trends , Alcohol Drinking/epidemiology , Alcoholism/epidemiology , Humans , India , Internet , Public Health
8.
Int J Drug Policy ; 85: 102940, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-758739

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Since 25th March 2020 India went into a complete and extended lockdown. Alcohol production, sales, and purchase were barred with this overnight prohibition order. We conducted a qualitative analysis of the media reports published within the first month of the nationwide lockdown with the objectives (a) using the media reports as indications of possible public health impact and population response of a sudden alcohol prohibition in India, (b) suggesting areas for future research. METHODS: We performed thematic and content analysis of 350 articles published online in national newspapers between the 26th March, 2020 and 25th April, 2020. Initial inductive, followed by deductive coding was done in this exploratory thematic analysis. RESULTS: The thematic analysis revealed four main themes: the beneficial aspects of the policy, the harmful aspects of the policy, non-compliance and attempts to change and / or subvert the policy, popularity and level of public buy-in of the policy. We generated relevant sub-themes under main themes. Two additional themes, not directly related to the sudden prohibition, were use of stigmatizing language and ethical concerns. The content analysis showed the frequency of the appearance of the main themes and proportions of sub-themes and codes under those main themes. CONCLUSION: The harms, perceived from the media reports, should be balanced against the potential benefits. Absence of a national-level alcohol policy was made apparent by the reflexive, disconnected, and conflictual measures. Future research could systematically examine the potential ramifications of alcohol prohibition on public health, social, and economic aspects.


Subject(s)
Alcohol Drinking/legislation & jurisprudence , COVID-19 , Newspapers as Topic , Pandemics , Public Policy , Quarantine/psychology , Alcoholic Beverages , Alcoholism/epidemiology , Alcoholism/therapy , Humans , India , Internet , Legislation, Medical , Patient Acceptance of Health Care , Public Health , Self-Help Groups
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