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Am J Health Promot. 2012 Jan-Feb;26(3):e86-94. doi: 10.4278/ajhp.100615-QUAL-193.

Adopting local alcohol policies: a case study of community efforts to regulate malt liquor sales.

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  • 1Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, 1300 South Second Street, Minneapolis, MN 55455-1015, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To learn how the local context may affect a city's ability to regulate alcohol products such as high-alcohol-content malt liquor, a beverage associated with heavy drinking and a spectrum of nuisance crimes in urban areas.

APPROACH:

An exploratory, qualitative case study comparing cities that adopted policies to restrict malt liquor sales with cities that considered, but did not adopt policies.

SETTING:

Nine large U.S. cities in seven states.

PARTICIPANTS:

City legislators and staff, alcohol enforcement personnel, police, neighborhood groups, business associations, alcohol retailers, and industry representatives.

METHOD:

Qualitative data were obtained from key informant interviews (n = 56) and media articles (n = 360). The data were coded and categorized. Similarities and differences in major themes among and across Adopted and Considered cities were identified.

RESULTS:

Cities faced multiple barriers in addressing malt liquor-related problems, including a lack of enforcement tools, alcohol industry opposition, and a lack of public and political will for alcohol control. Compared to cities that did not adopt malt liquor sales restrictions, cities that adopted restrictions appeared to have a stronger public mandate for a policy and were less influenced by alcohol industry opposition and lack of legislative authority for alcohol control. Strategies common to successful policymaking efforts are discussed.

CONCLUSION:

Understanding the local context may be a critical step in winning support for local alcohol control policies.

PMID:
22208421
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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