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Robin Room

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date: 29 June 2022

This chapter begins with a discussion on alcohol, its uses, and its effects, both positive and negative, followed by a review of the recent research on its cumulative adverse effects on health. The history of alcohol as a public health issue is also briefly reviewed. The temperance movements of the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries were succeeded by an impulse to deflate alcohol’s adverse effects and, in turn, by a ‘new public health’ approach. Although this approach gained ground among researchers from the 1970s onwards, it has often been resisted in the policy process. Seven main strategies to prevent or control alcohol problems are described, and their effectiveness briefly assessed. The chapter concludes with an account of alcohol policy in a globalizing world. An international convention on alcohol control has been called for to counter the influence of trade agreements and the globalization of alcohol production, distribution, and promotion.

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