Decade of deception: Annual Alcohol Poll

FARE’s 2019 Annual Alcohol Poll: Attitudes and Behaviours provides a comprehensive snapshot of Australia’s relationship with alcohol.

Australians remain concerned about alcohol, want governments to do more, and demand as consumers, the right to information that will keep them safe from harm.”

– Michael Thorn, FARE Chief Executive

Now in its tenth year, FARE’s Annual Alcohol Poll shows, disappointingly, a steady climb over the past decade of people drinking to get drunk and has found Australians remain confused about what constitutes low-risk and high-risk alcohol consumption.

The Poll also revealed the dangerous lack of clarity among Australians about the long-term risks of consuming alcohol, including cancer of the pharynx, larynx, oesophagus and liver, and that fewer than half of Australians are aware of the link between alcohol use and mouth and throat cancer and breast cancer.

It is not surprising Australians are confused about cancer and other health risks when nebulous terms such as ‘drink responsibly’ and ‘drink in moderation’ are commonplace in alcohol marketing.

Alcohol marketing and the 2018 Australian footy finals

FARE is committed to supporting and translating world-leading research to inform and protect against alcohol harm.

In October 2018 as an activity linked to FARE’s End Alcohol Advertising in Sport campaign, FARE released a research report exposing the extent of alcohol marketing which occurred during the 2018 Australian Football League (AFL) and National Rugby League (NRL) football finals.

The report revealed an astounding finding of just under 1 instance (0.7) of alcohol advertising per minute during AFL, and 3.3 per minute during NRL grand final coverage.

The findings were released in a research report and accompanying media release, which received extensive national media coverage across multiple platforms, and have provided FARE and the End Alcohol Advertising in Sport campaign with a valuable resource to reference for both strategy and advocacy work.

Media amplifies dangers of disruptive technology

Vulnerable people tracked, targeted and enticed to purchase alcohol online. 

During the past 12 months, FARE has taken and created several opportunities through policy advocacy and media commentary to raise awareness of the elevated risks of alcohol harm due to the introduction of disruptive technology in the retail space. 

FARE’s call to ban the use of after-pay credit services to purchase alcohol products made front-page news, and in submission after submission we addressed the overarching issue of vulnerable people – including dependent drinkers and underage drinkers – being tracked, targeted and enticed to purchase alcohol online. 

FARE argued that having more options and easier methods to buy alcohol on impulse and have it immediately delivered was a lose/lose scenario that could lead to decisions later regretted, or to breaking the law. 

Forums that FARE participated in included: 

Protecting Australia’s heaviest drinkers

Study into Australia’s heaviest drinkers validates control of cheap alcohol.

FARE-commissioned research revealed the strongest characteristic shared by Australia’s heaviest drinkers is their thirst for cheap alcohol, reinforcing the role of price control as a measure to reduce alcohol harm.

The study, Examining Australia’s Heaviest Drinkers, was undertaken by FARE’s research partner the Centre for Alcohol Policy and Research (CAPR) at La Trobe University, and published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.

Lead author, Dr Michael Livingston said the research results confirmed that the heaviest drinking ten per cent of Australians drink more than half of all alcohol consumed in Australia, with cheap alcohol the standout common factor among the cohort.

The finding clearly show that the government has a responsibility to address the problem of cheap alcohol by fixing the way alcohol is taxed, introducing floor prices and halting the proliferation of harm-causing packaged alcohol products.