- Posted by Austin Swim
- On September 15, 2015
- 0 Comments
One common debate in the world of legislation is whether or not alcohol laws that discourage alcohol use are actually effective in decreasing alcohol consumption. One study carried out at the University of Zurich reveals that alcohol related regulations, such as a minimum drinking age, restrictions on alcohol advertising, and restrictions on sale, do in fact have a preventative effect on young men. The study, in short, revealed that the more alcohol prevention measures there are in place (and enforced), the less likely young men are to drink excessively. However, such is not the case for those young men who exhibit antisocial or sensation seeking behavior, as they are at a much higher risk for drinking excessively.
The study was a national study headed by scientists at the University of Zurich. Scientists surveyed about 5,700 young men of an average age of 20 about their drinking habits–particularly how these habits varied by which regions they were drinking in (as many alcohol regulations do vary by region in Switzerland.) From the survey, they first observed that half of the respondents were high-risk drinkers, meaning that they consume six or more alcoholic drinks in a single session every month. About a third of them also exhibited alcohol problems, exhibited repeated drinking behavior that results in harmful consequences. These statistics were discouraging, especially when considering how high-risk young men are for developing an addiction to alcohol. Meichun Mohler-Kuo, a professor from the Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute at the University of Zurich, commented, “Young adults and young men are most vulnerable to high-risk and abusive drinking, which can develop into an alcohol addiction.”
The study also found that fewer men drank alcohol excessively when they were in regions that had stronger preventative measures. However, those high-risk respondents who tended to exhibit antisocial or sensation seeking behavior did not follow this pattern. Simon Foster, another professor from the University of Zurich put it this way: “Evidently, it’s very difficult to reach the men who are most at risk with the existing preventive measures.”
Of course, one question still remains: Though alcohol laws might be effective at preventing excessive drinking in young men in Switzerland, will the same be true for young men in the US? Similar studies carried out in other countries seem to point to “yes,” as reported by the authors of this study. However, it would be interesting to carry out this particular study model in the US and compare the results between cultures in order to better understand how alcohol regulations influence human behavior on a more general scale.