The International Alcohol Control Study (the IAC Study) is the first ever international cohort study of alcohol use and alcohol policy relevant behaviours. The overall objective is to measure the impacts of national or state level alcohol control policies.
The IAC study began in 2011 as a collaboration between New Zealand, England, Scotland, South Korea and Thailand. Since then, the number of countries participating in the study has expanded to include Australia, Canada, Mongolia, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, South Africa, Vietnam and Turkey (a current total of 13 participating countries). In 2014 three African countries (Benin, Kenya and Uganda) joined the IAC project utilising one of the IAC research tools, the Alcohol Environment Protocol, to assess the alcohol policy environment.
IAC research tools
The IAC study has developed two research tools. The first is a longitudinal survey allowing for the assessment of change over time among drinkers within countries, and for comparisons between countries. The survey measures alcohol consumption, perceptions of alcohol affordability, availability, and enforcement and support for policy. An innovative part of the survey is the inclusion of questions about behaviours and attitudes which can be affected by policy changes and which mediate consumption. These include prices paid, time and place of purchase, and exposure to and resonance of marketing.
The second research tool, The Alcohol Environment Protocol (AEP), monitors the alcohol environment in each country. The AEP is based on administrative and commercial data sets, key informant interviews and observational studies to assess the implementation of effective alcohol control policies in the following areas: alcohol availability, pricing and taxation of alcohol products, social supply of alcohol, alcohol marketing, and drink driving enforcement.
Supporting effective alcohol policy
The IAC study has established a research platform to guide strong, evidence-based implementation of alcohol control policies. This is timely in the context of the WHO Global Strategy to Reduce Harmful Use of Alcohol (2010) and the UN Declaration on the NCD epidemic (2011).
The IAC project disseminates its research findings to the global alcohol control community, including researchers, policy makers, and advocates.
The development of the IAC study was generously supported by the Health Promotion Agency of New Zealand and the co-ordination role undertaken by the SHORE & Whariki Research Centre has been supported by Massey University and IDRC Canada. Each country gains funding for its own participation and sponsors are shown on country pages.
New countries welcome
The SHORE & Whariki Research Centre is keen to collaborate with researchers in countries wishing to join the IAC study. Survey instruments, software and protocol for analysis have been developed in collaboration with participating countries, and all tools can be made available for use by other countries wishing to join the study. The core survey consists of questions to be used by all IAC participating countries, and country specific questions can be added. For ease of use and to ensure accurate data collection, the survey needs to be computer assisted. It is a requirement of participation in the IAC study that researchers do not have conflict of interest and are not funded by or collaborating with the alcohol industry.
For further information on the IAC study, please contact:
Professor Sally Casswell Co -director SHORE & Whariki Research Centre
College of Health, Massey University New Zealand firstname.lastname@example.org
The International Alcohol Control Policy Study thanks the following granting agencies for their financial support