INDUSTRIAL EPIDEMICS DEFINED: The concept of an epidemic associated with the commercialization of a dangerous product was first developed in the instance of tobacco [5,6]. Beatrice Majnoni d'Intignano [7–9] extended this concept to epidemics related to the consumption of commercial products (e.g. alcohol, illicit drugs, food, cars, guns). We further modified that concept to cover diseases of consumers, workers and community residents caused by industrial promotion of consumable products, job conditions and environmental pollution, respectively, and to endemic as well as epidemic conditions. In each instance, public health-oriented policies run the risk of being opposed by industrial corporations in a health versus profit trade-off. In this editorial we argue that the term ‘industrial epidemics’ applies to alcohol because alcoholic beverages are industrial products, and alcohol-related problems fit the concept of increased frequency as a marker of epidemics, whether over time, in different places, or among subgroups of particular populations ….
There are several ways in which corporate activity may drive an epidemic, either initially when a new product is introduced or as a secondary impetus following an endemic period. ‘Generational epidemics’ derive from the need of corporations to replenish their population of users as old cohorts die out and new cohorts of potential users are moving toward adulthood. For example, as a new generation of potential drinkers comes of age, the alcohol industry competes for the young adult market. An important research question is how much of the recent increase in heavy episodic drinking among young Europeans is due to aggressive marketing by the alcoholic beverage industry? ‘Targeted epidemics’ refer to decisions by industrial corporations to single out particular groups for increased use or consumption of its products, or for the development of new products. In the case of alcohol there is a long history of such targeted epidemics, such as the Gin Epidemic in the 18th century [14,15]. In recent times, one may cite increased use of flavored malt beverages (‘alcopops’) [16,17] by adolescents in many countries as a targeted epidemic. Finally, ‘transnational epidemics’ are a special group of epidemics where the targets are foreign countries. Industries export their products to other countries to augment their markets or to develop new markets that are not yet saturated or subject to stringent regulations. The alcohol industry's global corporations have expanded alcoholic beverage markets in several developing or transitional countries in the past few decades , which has been associated with increasing alcohol problem rates.
Last year, Australians spent a grand total of $14.5 billion on alcohol they purchased from a liquor retailer (as opposed to a bar or other licensed venue). Almost three-quarters of this went to supermarket-affiliated retailers*, with hotel bottle shops and independent stores trailing well behind, the latest Alcohol Retail Currency report from Roy Morgan Research reveals.
The most striking development was the continued rise of ‘big box’ powerhouse Dan Murphy’s. The Woolworths’-owned chain accounted for nearly 30% of the total dollars—or $4.3 billion—spent by Australians on alcohol in 2016 (up from 25.4% in 2015). Woolworths’ two other alcohol retailers, Woolworths Liquor and BWS, saw their market share shrink, but Dan Murphy’s growth was robust enough to ensure that, between them, the three Woolworths’-owned retailers have a total dollar market share of just under 50% (49.2%/$7.1 billion).
A longer-term view reveals that Woolworths Liquor has been on the slide since at least 2012, while BWS’s recent decline comes after a period of relative stability. Dan Murphy’s has been up and down during this time, but has been increasing steadily since mid-2014.
Market share over time: supermarket liquor stores’ total alcohol retail share of dollars
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January 2012-December 2016. Base: Australians 18+ who purchased packaged alcohol last 7 days. * NB: Woolworths Group = Woolworths Liquor, BWS and Dan Murphy’s; Coles Group = Liquorland, First Choice and Vintage Cellars.
Written by Ana Sandoiu Monday 22 May 2017
When studies first suggested that alcohol, in moderation, may improve health, many of us were delighted at the news. But a new, in-depth review of these studies suggests that believing the health benefits of alcohol may be wishful thinking.
New research suggests that the studies previously indicating that alcohol is good for one's health may have been biased.
More than 100 prospective studies have shown an inverse correlation between moderate alcohol intake - defined as no more than one daily drink for women, and no more than two drinks per day for men - and the risk of heart attack, blood clots, stroke, and other adverse cardiovascular events.
Last year, Australians spent a grand total of $14.5 billion on alcohol they purchased from a liquor retailer (as opposed to a bar or other licensed venue). Almost three-quarters of this went to supermarket-affiliated retailers*, with hotel bottle shops and independent stores trailing well behind, the latest Alcohol Retail Currency report from Roy Morgan Research reveals
Aims: To assess the longer-term effects of the 2014 NSW liquor law reforms on levels of violence in the inner Sydney area.
Method: Interrupted time series models were used to examine the effects of the legislative reforms introduced in January 2014. Police recorded non-domestic assaults were analysed over the period January 2009 and September 2016. Separate analyses were carried out for the Kings Cross Precinct (KXP); the Sydney CBD Entertainment Precinct (CBD); an area contiguous with KXP and CBD called the proximal displacement area (PDA); a group of entertainment areas not far from KXP and CBD called the distal displacement area (DDA) and the rest of NSW.
Results: Following the reforms statistically significant reductions in non-domestic assault incidents occurred in both the Kings Cross (down 49%) and CBD Entertainment Precincts (down 13%). There was evidence of geographical displacement to surrounding areas with increases in non-domestic assault observed in both the PDA (up 12%) and the DDA (up 17%). The reduction in the combined Kings Cross and CBD Precincts (930 fewer non-domestic assaults) was much greater than the increase in the combined proximal and displacement areas (299 more non-domestic assaults).
Conclusion: Restrictions on the availability of alcohol appear to have reduced non-domestic assault in the target Precincts. Continued research is needed to monitor if displacement of these assaults increases further.