2019 Annual Alcohol Poll

10-May-2019


The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) which is an independent, not-for-profit organisation working to stop the harm caused by alcohol has released the 2019 Annual Alcohol Poll: Attitudes and Behaviours. The Poll is available at: www.fare.org.au/alcpoll2019

In the 10th year of the alcohol poll, a number of key trends have emerged. People are concerned about alcohol harm, with three quarters (75%) believing that more needs to be done to reduce alcohol harm. Levels of risky drinking remain a concern, with the Poll showing a steady climb over the past decade of people drinking to get drunk (from 35% to 47%). Alarmingly, 78% of Australian drinkers who consume alcohol to get drunk, consider themselves a responsible drinker.

Key NSW specific findings include:

  • More than 80% of people living in NSW believe people have a right to know about a wide range of alcohol-related health harms.
  • Fewer than half of people living in NSW are aware of the link between alcohol use and stroke (44%), mouth and throat cancer (30%) and breast cancer (15%).
  • 39% of drinkers living in NSW have ordered alcohol online for home delivery which is much higher than the national average (33%).
  • 84% of people living in NSW believe that pubs, clubs and bars should close at 3am or earlier.
  • 77% of people living in NSW support health warning labels on alcohol products to alert people to the risk of alcohol-related health conditions.

Australians remain confused about what constitutes low-risk and high-risk alcohol consumption, with low knowledge of the content of the NHMRC’s alcohol guidelines. This is compounded by deliberately vague industry messaging such as “drink responsibly”.

For only the second time, this year FARE asked people if they considered themselves to be a responsible drinker, and discovered that most Australians consider themselves to be a responsible drinker. This includes the majority of people who drink in risky fashion (for example 68% of Australian drinkers who consume 11 or more standard drinks on a typical occasion).

Four in five Australians believe that people have a right to know about alcohol-related harm, but only 16% of Australians are aware of the link between alcohol and breast cancer. This highlights the critical need for the incoming federal government to implement evidence-based public awareness campaigns that tell the truth about the long-term harms of drinking alcohol.

FARE Chief Executive Michael Thorn says over the past decade there has been a lack of government investment in preventive health measures, including raising awareness of the short-term and long-term risks of drinking alcohol.

Mr Thorn says the confusion around alcohol risk is reaching a crisis point as the country heads into the federal election saying that one in 22 Australians die from alcohol-related causes, yet the community remains in the dark about the range of life-threatening diseases that alcohol causes.

FARE has reiterated the critical need for the incoming federal government to implement evidence-based public awareness campaigns that tell the truth about the long-term harms of drinking alcohol.

“It was encouraging to see Labor’s modest announcement last week to address crucial areas that FARE has identified for attention, including targeted awareness campaigns about the risks of alcohol, putting pregnancy warning labels on alcohol products and protecting young people from alcohol advertising,” Mr Thorn said.

The Greens have also recognised preventive health, pledging to establish an independent Preventive Health Commission to implement evidence-based harm prevention programs.

“A government that implements these priority actions will have the support of the country, with more than four in five Australians believing that people have a right to know about alcohol-related harm, and the majority (75 per cent) believing that more needs to be done to reduce alcohol harm,” he said.