Thailand leads Asia in reducing drinking & alcohol
Writer Jon Fernquest
July 23, 2015
Asian countries following Thailand’s example where national alcohol policy persuaded two-thirds of Thais to stop drinking, despite forecast 70% of global beer growth in Asia-Pacific over next five years.
By banning alcohol sales near universities and technical colleges, Thailand is putting the nation at the forefront of efforts in Asia to curb booze consumption.
Under amendments to the Alcohol Control Act endorsed by the government Wednesday and to be implemented nationwide late next month, bars, clubs and retailers will be prohibited from selling alcoholic beverages within a 300-metre radius of higher-educational institutions. The measures are aimed at promoting a healthy lifestyle and tackling alcohol-related problems, including underage sex, the Ministry of Public Health said.
Thailand is moving further than other governments in countering growing demand for alcohol in Asia and the Pacific, the fastest-growing beer market for brewer Heineken NV. The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for a 10% reduction in the harmful use of alcohol by 2025 from 2010 levels, implicating it in more than 200 diseases and injury conditions that the UN agency says kill about 3.3 million people a year.
“Thailand has the strongest tradition of trying to curb alcohol consumption and reduce alcohol-related harms,” said Juergen Rehm, professor and chair of addiction policy at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health.
The government has a taxation mechanism that “enables them to tax the hell out of any beverage which is attractive to youth,” said Mr Rehm, who has worked with authorities on alcohol programmes for the past decade.
Here is one of the more extreme advertisements aimed at curbing alcohol consumption: