Zero-alcohol beverages: Harm-minimisation tool or gateway drink?

Mia Miller, Simone Pettigrew, Cassandra J.C. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

Abstract

Zero-alcohol beverages, classified as products containing ≤0.5% alcohol by volume, are becoming increasingly popular. These beverages may contribute to alcohol harm reduction efforts if drinkers switch to them from regular strength beverages. However, there is currently a lack of evidence to support a substitution hypothesis, particularly as alcohol companies frequently market zero-alcohol beverages as drinks to consume in new locations, such as in the workplace, or by previously non-drinking groups, such as pregnant women. Additionally, zero-alcohol beverages are currently available for sale in supermarkets by all consumers, including minors. This is problematic as there is a lack of evidence around what impact consumption of zero-alcohol beverages in youth might have on social norms and initiation of alcohol consumption. In this commentary, we explore the existing evidence on zero-alcohol beverages and their impact on drinking behaviours, concluding that a current paucity of knowledge makes developing evidence-based policy a challenge. As such, substantial research efforts are required to inform policies regulating the availability and marketing of zero-alcohol beverages in Australia.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDrug and Alcohol Review
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Aug 2021

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