Alcohol control policies and alcohol consumption: an international comparison of 167 countries
Alcohol control policy has a fundamental role in limiting negative health, economic and social harm caused by alcohol consumption. However, there is substantial international heterogeneity in country-level policy adoption, implementation and monitoring. Comparative measures so far focused on Europe or the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries.Methods
We created an Alcohol Control Policy Index (ACPI) for 167 countries using five different methodological approaches. National policies were sourced from WHO’s Global Information System on Alcohol and Health. We assessed ACPI’s criterion-related validity by calculating the strength of the association among the different approaches. As for content validity, we tested whether the resulting scores explained variations in alcohol per capita consumption cross-nationally, controlling for gross domestic product, population age, urbanisation and world region using OLS and random coefficients models.Results
Index scores and ranks from different methodological approaches are highly correlated (r=0.99). Higher scores were associated with lower consumption across the five methods. For each 1 score increase in the ACPI, the reduction in per capita alcohol consumption varies from −0.024 L (95% CI (−0.043 to −0.004) to −0.014 L (95% CI (−0.034 to 0.005). We obtain larger coefficients and p values <0.005 when estimating random coefficients.Conclusion
ACPI offers a measure of alcohol control policy across countries that makes use of a larger number of countries than its predecessors, as well as a wider range of methodologies for its calculation, both of which contribute to its validity. Furthermore, it shows that the statutory strictness of alcohol control policies is associated with lower levels of alcohol consumption.