Attitudes and beliefs towards alcohol minimum pricing in Western Australia
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Modelling data have provided good evidence to support the efficacy of a minimum pricing policy for alcoholic beverages as a means to reduce alcohol consumption and risky and harmful drinking. The aim of the present study was to investigate attitudes and beliefs towards a minimum price policy for alcohol among members of the general public in Western Australia (WA). The study also explored what factors might promote acceptance of the policy. Eleven focus groups, comprising participants from a broad range of backgrounds in WA, were conducted. Using a facilitator-administered semi-structured interview schedule participants discussed their beliefs about the policy and how its acceptability might be promoted. Transcriptions of discussions were analysed using qualitative inductive content analysis for emergent themes. Three major themes emerged: attitudes towards the policy, beliefs about effectiveness and strategies to increase acceptability. Participants expressed negative attitudes towards the policy and thought that it would lead to increased crime, drug use and financial strain. Participants identified the policy as unfair on disadvantaged groups, and suggested that individuals would find a way to procure alcohol regardless of minimum pricing policies. Suggestions to make the policy more acceptable included increasing alcohol education and directing the revenue towards alcohol reduction initiatives. Participants' negative views and perceived lack of effectiveness corroborate research conducted in the UK. Information and education campaigns aimed at reducing misunderstanding of the policy and highlighting its effectiveness may help to promote greater acceptability.
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