4. Strategies to reduce alcohol-related harm among Tertiary students
There are a number of interventions that are effective in reducing alcohol-related harm among tertiary students.
In brief, strategies can be grouped into those which
- control the availability and accessibility of alcohol (supply control)
- encourage reduced alcohol use (demand reduction)
- reduce the problems stemming from the use of alcohol (problem limitation).
Supply control - strategies to control the availability of alcohol
- Restrict trading hours of licensed premises;
- Limit number or density of alcohol outlets near campus areas (object to liquor licences - see here);
- Advocate to increase the price of alcohol (e.g. through alcohol tax or minimum unit pricing);
- Implement total or partial alcohol bans on campus (e.g. campus alcohol policies or local government bylaws);
- Prohibit alcohol use/sale at campus events;
- Restrict price promotions (campus or community agreement for a policy to prevent alcohol brands that encourage students to drink more than they would normally);
- Advocate to raise the minimum legal purchase age to 20 years;
- Restrict alcohol advertising and sponsorship - for example in campus publications (see here);
- Conduct campus-wide social norms campaign;
- Require labelling on alcohol products;
- Implement community-based healthy university approaches.
- Implement host-responsibility programmes in licensed premises or encourage hosts of parties to be responsible hosts;
- Implement brief interventions for alcohol-related problems for students.
Community-based programmes should emphasise collaboration between students, tertiary institutions and the wider community. The following approaches are useful:
Whole-of setting approach – see The Okanagan Charter for health promoting universities
- Action 1 - embed health into all aspects of campus culture, across the administration, operations and academic mandates;
- Action 2 - Lead health promotion action and collaboration locally and globally;
- Develop a comprehensive strategic action plan with key stakeholders;
Identify environmental-level strategies and select multiple best-evidence interventions, this includes:
- Campus alcohol policies, substance-free halls of residence, ban on alcohol ad in student newspapers, etc;
- Evaluate interventions and report the findings.
Please also check out the Case Study - Campus Watch at the University of Otago. Findings have been published in a peer review paper here.
Other useful information
- Health Promotion in Tertiary Settings: reducing alcohol-related harm A review to inform policy and practice in tertiary settings
- For more information on how to promote health and well-being in tertiary settings, visit the following link http://twanz.squarespace.com/
- Healthy Universities approach in the United Kingdom - Toolkit & Resources
3. Happy hours
The Irish Government first passed legislation in 2003 to make ‘happy hours’ illegal. Scotland enacted similar legislation in 2005.
In the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018, the Irish Oireachtas amended the 2003 legislation to prohibit a person from selling or supplying, or causing to be sold or supplied, an alcohol product during a limited period at a price less than that being charged for the alcohol product on the day before the commencement of the limited period.
In Scotland, the law requires that alcohol prices for any particular product are required to stay the same for a period of 72 hours.
The rationale for this length of time was that it would be uneconomic for premises to maintain lower prices for the 3-day period.
In 2008, Finland enacted legislation to require the price to remain the same for at least two months. Mass media advertising for short-term discount prices or happy hours was also prohibited. However, the industry responded by having price discounts that extended beyond two months.
2. Price discounting
The impact of restricting the discounting of alcohol products at off-licences has been studied. Results in the UK showed that annual consumption would fall by 3% in Scotland and 2.8% in England, if a total off-licence discount ban was imposed. The policy was estimated to cost an average of £11 per drinker per year and affected wine prices the greatest. Polices that restricted the percentage of discounting permitted had smaller effects on consumption.
1. Multi-buy restrictions
The following countries have implemented restrictions to multi-buy offers:
- In 2008, Finland prohibited offering several packages or servings of alcoholic beverages at a reduced joint price.
- In October 2011 Scotland passed legislation to prohibit multi-buy promotion of alcohol in off-licences, whilst other forms of discounting remained permitted.
- In October 2018, Ireland enacted legislation to prohibit multi-buys (no date currently set for implementation).
Two studies have examined the impact of the Scottish legislation on alcohol consumption. One pre and post implementation study, using household shopping panel data, found no effect of the law on consumption. The other study, utilised aggregated sales data in an interrupted time series design and found the law reduced consumption by 2.6%, but this difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.07). The differences in the results between the two studies may be due to data collection, with shopping panel data being prone to under-reporting and biases relating to representativeness.
In relation to health outcomes, the Scottish law was shown to have no impact on alcohol-related hospital admissions or deaths.
In response to the Finnish legislation, the alcohol industry reduced the price of a single can of beer so that it equalled the price of beer when sold in larger quantities at a reduced price. This strategy had the effect of reducing the price of a single can of beer by 40%. However, it is believed that the law has had the effect of making the most substantial discounts practically disappear.
3. Change the law
There is a range of approaches to reduce heavy consumption associated with discounting, including:
- Prohibiting multi-buy promotions;
- Restricting the maximum discount permitted or banning all discounting of alcohol; and
- Restricting or prohibiting time-limited discounts (e.g., ‘happy hours’)
These approaches will require legislative change. It would be preferable to ban all discounting, rather than setting any maximum limit on the premittted level of price discounting (e.g. 50%), as this would be difficult to monitor, especially when advertising of discounts predominantly occurs via personally-targeted digital media. An alternative approach would be prohibiting the advertising of prices of alcohol products.
Make submissions on draft legislation or policy
Be an advocate for more effective control on pricing policies and price promotion.
Make a submission – Look out for any opportunities to have a say on the development or review of any policies that might help to reduce heavy consumption associated with discounting. Policies and laws to address discounting may be at the national level, such as the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.
If there is an opportunity to submit on draft legislation, we will post a submission template here.
Advocate for change
For more information and tips on making submissions and other advocacy action, see Mobilising Others.
2. Irresponsible promotion at licensed premises (s237 of SSAA)
If your concern relates to a promotion on, or by, a licensed premise it can be used to object to their next licence renewal. It might be possible to add discretionary conditions to their licence such as a restriction of single sales. An example of a single sales condition placed [ ADLC 8220013176]] on an off-licence bottle store in the Auckland region is:
No single sales of:
- Beer or ready to drink spirits (RTDs) in bottles, cans or containers of less than 440 mls in volume may occur except for craft
- shots or pre mixed shots.
If they have breached the law three or more times it could be a case for a cancellation of their licence. Visit the Licensing Section for more information on how to object to a licence application.
- If you see anything that you are concerned about gather and record as much evidence as you can. In particular note when and where you saw the promotion, exactly what is says (wording), and who was and how it was offered.
- Take a picture or screenshot on the promotion.
Enter any information into an incident log.
- If you believe it breaches the law or warrants further investigation send the details of the promotion to the licensing team at the Local Council in the first instance.
- Remain in contact to see what the outcome of your complaint is; you may want to raise media attention to any positive results.
- Encourage and support others to be active in this area. For more information and help see the Mobilising Others section.
- Initiate or support efforts to reduce the number of outlets in your community – for more information click here.
1. Support the monitoring and enforcement of the law
1. Keep an active watch on pricing and price promotions in your area. You might also see promotions:
- on the internet
- on television or radio
- on bill-boards
- in newspapers
- inside or outside licensed premises, etc.
2. You can use the Checklists below to check whether the promotion breaches the law.
HPA Promotion Agency - Guidelines for off-licence promotions
3. If you see anything that you are concerned about gather and record as much evidence as you can. In particular note when and where you saw the promotion, exactly what is says (wording), and who was and how it was offered.
Take a picture or screenshot on the promotion
Enter any information into an incident log, click here to download
TOOL – Template report of irresponsible promotion (to be completed)
2.Key regulatory agencies_alcohol licensing
The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 requires that the NZ Police, Licensing Inspector of local council and Medical Officer of Health to work together in the licence application process.
These three regulatory agencies play a key role in alcohol licensing in our country. They are also required to be consulted during the development of a Draft Local Alcohol Policy .
When a licence application is made, the three agencies need to inquire into licence applications and determine whether it meets the criteria of the Act. In most cases, they provide a report on a licence application (although there are different requirements for special licences). All reports are sent to the Council, and there are timelines around this, please click here for a flowchart of the licensing process.
The three regulatory agencies have the duty to work together in order to:
- Ensure ongoing monitoring of licences and enforcement of the Act; and
- Develop and implement strategies for reducing alcohol-related harm.
Both NZ Police and Council licensing inspectors have the power to enter and inspect licensed premises. Maori wardens can also enter premises.
Factsheet: Key statutory roles of the three regulatory agencies
Please visit the following pages for more information:
- NZ Police - http://www.police.govt.nz/contact-us
Public Health Unit for Medical Officers of Health - http://www.health.govt.nz/new-zealand-health-system/my-dhb
- Licensing team at your local council - http://www.lgnz.co.nz/new-zealands-councils/
1. Key decision-makers (DLCs and ARLA)
You will often hear about two levels of decision-making on licence applications; 1) the District Licensing Committee and 2) the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority.
District Licensing Committee
Commonly known as the DLC, this is the local body which makes the decisions regarding local licence applications. The core functions of the DLC are to consider and determine matters within the district they serve, such as:
- Applications of licences and manager’s certificate;
- Temporary authority applications (on/off licences);
- Variation, suspension and cancellation of special licences;
- Referral of applications to the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority (ARLA);
- Conduct inquiries and provision of report required by ARLA;
- Other functions conferred on it by any Act.
The Local council appoints the members of the DLC, which comprises of a chair and two other members.
Normally, DLC members serve a five-year term. Large councils may set up more than one DLC, depending on population size they serve. Smaller councils may also share a DLC with a neighbouring council. Your local council is required to publish a list of their DLC members to the public.
Please check out the following pages for more information:
- Visit Local Government NZ to find your local council - including relevant information on alcohol licensing and DLCs in your local council.
- More details information about DLCs on the website of Health Promotion Agency, please click here.
- Section 186-192 of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act –District Licensing Committees, please click here.
Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority
Commonly known as ARLA, this body sits within the Ministry of Justice. They are a national body set up to ensure the Act is consistently and fairly applied by the District Licensing Committees (DLCs). Key statutory functions of ARLA are to consider and determine the following:
- Matters referred by DLCs, e.g. application for licences or renewed licences and applications for manager’s certificates;
- Appeals from decisions of DLCs;
- Appeals against elements of Provisional Local Alcohol Policies;
- Applications by inspectors and police constables for the variation, suspension, or cancellation of licences and manager’s certificates; and
- Any other functions conferred on it by or under this Act or any other enactment.
In addition, ARLA provides guidance to DLCs by issuing practice notes, guidelines or suggestions.
ARLA comprises of up to three District Court judges and any number of other members. Currently, there is only one judge.
You can contact ARLA at [email protected] or 04 4626660.
Please check out the following pages for more information:
- If you are considering whether to object to a licence application, please visit our section on Objecting to a Liquor Licence
- Find out the decisions made by ARLA, please click here.
- Section 169-185 of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act – Alcohol Regulatory Licensing Authority , please click here.
Past-year drinking prevalence
The prevalence (%) of past-year drinking among the total population, 2020/21 NZ Health Survey.
By age-group (years)
By ethnic group (total response)