The alcohol beverages industry welcomes new research from DrinkWise which shows alcohol is well down the list of worries for Australians and confirms improvements in Australians’ drinking habits shown in the recent Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) National Drug Strategy Household Survey.
“It brings perspective to know more Australians are concerned about sun exposure, working too hard, not getting enough exercise or too much sugar in their diets than drinking too much alcohol,” Alcohol Beverages Australia Executive Director Fergus Taylor said.
Over 75% of Australians are not bothered about drinking too much alcohol, and alcohol abuse was ranked 21st out of 35 issues that respondents were asked to rank as the five most important matters facing Australian society, Mr Taylor said.
“This research will help political leaders and policy makers understand the reality of Australia’s relationship with alcohol and the significance of decade-long positive improvements in drinking practices and attitudes.
“The DrinkWise study confirms that Australia’s drinking habits are changing for the better, and is an important reminder that the vast majority of Australians drink responsibly.”
A Snapshot: Australian Drinking Habits: 2007 vs 2017, shows important trends in increases in moderate drinking and declines in drinking to excess that are consistent with government statistics.
Commissioned by DrinkWise, a not-for-profit social change organisation created to bring about a healthier and safer drinking culture in Australia, the report is an update on changes to Australians’ drinking practices, beliefs and attitudes and a valuable insight into the factors that influence people’s attitudes and behaviours regarding alcohol consumption.
The results show that in 2017, 20% of Australians abstain from alcohol, up from 11% in 2007, and 59% of 16-17 year olds reported never having consumed alcohol, in line with AIHW figures released in June showing 57.7% of 16-17 year olds abstaining, a substantial increase from 25.2% in 2007.
“This is a significant finding which backs up the existing government research and is also an important reminder that alcohol advertising does not drive underage drinking, because these results have occurred during a period of increased advertising,” Mr Taylor said.
“Such positive results emphasise that the alcohol beverages industry is producing and marketing its products responsibly and will continue to work with governments and local communities to ensure this continues.
“The report’s findings on attitudes to alcohol in Australia should be considered closely by policy makers, because for far too long, anti-alcohol activist groups have been making highly-questionable claims on alcohol consumption and attitudes in an attempt to convince governments that current consumption levels constitute a crisis.”
Alcohol Beverages Australia Executive Director Fergus Taylor is available for interview.
Alcohol Beverages Australia is the peak industry body created to highlight the positive social, cultural and economic contribution of alcohol beverages in Australia, and promote, explain and defend the legitimate rights of the industry and the 15 million Australians who drink responsibly. www.alcoholbeveragesaustralia.org.au
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