Western Australian public opinions of a minimum pricing policy for alcohol: Study protocol.
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Background: Excessive alcohol consumption has significant adverse economic, social, and health outcomes. Recent estimates suggest that the annual economic costs of alcohol in Australia are up to AUD $36 billion. Policies influencing price have been demonstrated to be very effective in reducing alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harms. Interest in minimum pricing has gained traction in recent years. However, there has been little research investigating the level of support for the public interest case of minimum pricing in Australia. Objective: This article describes protocol for a study exploring Western Australian (WA) public knowledge, understanding, and reaction to a proposed minimum price policy per standard drink. Methods: The study will employ a qualitative methodological design. Participants will be recruited from a wide variety of backgrounds, including ethnic minorities, blue and white collar workers, unemployed, students, and elderly/retired populations to participate in focus groups. Focus group participants will be asked about their knowledge of, and initial reactions to, the proposed policy and encouraged to discuss how such a proposal may affect their own alcohol use and alcohol consumption at the population level. Participants will also be asked to discuss potential avenues for increasing acceptability of the policy. The focus groups will adopt a semi-structured, open-ended approach guided by a question schedule. The schedule will be based on feedback from pilot samples, previous research, and a steering group comprising experts in alcohol policy and pricing.Results: The study is expected to take approximately 14 months to complete. Conclusions: The findings will be of considerable interest and relevance to government officials, policy makers, researchers, advocacy groups, alcohol retail and licensed establishments and organizations, city and town planners, police, and other stakeholder organizations.
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