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Alcohol research

Alcohol is a leading contributor to death, disease and injury in New Zealand. It is estimated to cause 800 deaths annually among those aged less than 80 years. Breast cancer is the leading cause of alcohol-related death for women and approximately one-third of all alcohol-attributable deaths are due to cancer.

In response to public concern over alcohol-related harm in New Zealand, the government passed the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act (2012). The Act is intended to reduce harm resulting from the excessive consumption of alcohol but it omits almost all of the evidence-based strategies recommended by the Law Commission in its 2010 review of alcohol laws. Instead, the law aims to give communities more say on local alcohol availability.

Our current research focus is on evaluating the new legislation, assessing its impact on public input into local alcohol decision-making, alcohol availability in New Zealand communities, and rates of hazardous drinking. We are also examining public perception of alcohol as a risk factor for cancer.

Current alcohol research projects

  • Evaluation of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act (2012):
    1. Does the new law improve public input into local decision-making on alcohol?
    2. How does alcohol availability change in New Zealand communities subsequent to the new law?
    3. How does the prevalence of hazardous drinking change in New Zealand subsequent to the new law?
  • Awareness of alcohol as a risk factor for cancer

Alcohol research team