Alcohol is a toxin – This is particularly important in relation to children and young people. They will be more affected by any alcohol consumption they consume. Higher strength alcohol products, such as spirits, present a greater risk in relation to poisoning.
Alcohol products and packaging are part of the marketing – Alcohol producers and marketers aim to make their products as appealing as possible to current and potential consumers. Young peoples’ exposure to alcohol marketing is known to speed up the onset of drinking and increase the amounts consumed by those already drinking.
Exposure to alcohol advertising often occurs in homes - a substantial proportion of exposure to alcohol advertising occurs in private homes. This may occur via television, computers/tablet screens and mobile devices.
Almost every New Zealand drinker consumes alcohol in their home or in another’s home. The COVID-19 pandemic has likely embedded home drinking for many New Zealanders.
Family homes play a major role in children and young person's exposure to alcohol. Many parents report being drunk or tipsy in front of their children.
Children report negative feelings when being around their parents who are drinking.
The home may also be an avenue for exposure to alcohol sponsorship - through merchandise / posters / etc.
There are many actions that can be taken at home to protect family/whānau members and visitors.
Alcohol in the home
Between 2012 and 2013, over 9 in 10 adult drinkers (96%) had consumed alcohol in their home or in another’s home in New Zealand. In 2010 in New Zealand, 73% of the total volume of absolute alcohol was consumed in private homes (own home, other's homes).
Therefore, the home has a significant influence on children's and young people's experiences and exposures to alcohol. How they see drinking happen at home will become their expectations and own norms for drinking.
As seen in the young people section of this website, adolescents commonly report consuming alcohol with friends (83%) followed by family (53%). Many more students who live in deprived neighbourhoods (59%) report drinking with their family when compared to those living in the least deprived neighbourhood (49%).
In a UK survey of 1,000 parents, almost one-third (29%) of parents reported having been drunk in front of their child; more than half (51%) of parents reported being tipsy in front of their kids.
In this study, almost one-third (29%) of parents thought it was okay to get drink in front of their kids as long as it did not happen regularly. The same survey also found that children could feel negative towards parents' drinking behaviours. For example, around one in five (18%) of children had felt embarasssed and one in 10 (11%) had felt worried.
Last but not least, it is known that one of the factors that contributes to earlier drinking and progression to binge drinking in adolescents is owning alcohol-branded merchandise in homes. This merchandise is commonly found in home settings, as shown in New Zealand research. Please check out the subsection on advertising and sponsorship for more information about exposure to alcohol marketing in our home.
It is great that you want to take action in this important setting. You can make a real difference to New Zealand's drinking culture. Read more below.
Workplaces can play a major role in changing our drinking culture and protecting employees from harm.
In 2008/09, 25% of New Zealand drinkers said they had consumed alcohol in the workplace or at meetings.
Less than 10% of drinkers in a 2012/13 survey said that they had worked while under the influence of alcohol in the last 12 months. This was higher among some ethnic groups.
In 2008 it was estimated that 147,500 adults take one or more days off work or school due to their alcohol use (males more than females). A total of 84,400 adults reported experiencing harmful effects on their work, study or employment because of alcohol.
The estimated annual average cost of lost productivity per employee is estimated to be NZ$1097.71 (NZ$209.62 absenteeism, NZ$888.09 presenteeism) and NZ$134.62 per employer. At a population level this equates to approximately NZ$1.65 billion per year.
In New Zealand, employers have legal obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 to protect workers from health and safety risks and minimise hazards.
It is is great that you want to take action in this important area. Here are some key steps to help you in your journey.
Here's what you need to know about alcohol in school and tertiary settings:
Young people experience high levels of alcohol-related harm. Places where young people spend a lot of time need to promote health and well-being, rather than increase risk for a young people to experience harm.
Schools play important functions in the wider community, and are often a hub for community gatherings. Sometimes these involve alcohol. Some schools have licences to sell/serve alcohol, others use alcohol sales as a fund-raising activity. School balls have also caused concern. More recently, Councils are adopting measures which prohibit special licences for child-focused events.
Tertiary students are among our heaviest drinking groups in New Zealand. They experience high levels of harm from their drinking. This can have a huge impact on their academic success. Orientation and other university student events, and student-oriented bars sometimes serve to highlight this.