In recent years, the reduction of alcohol-related harm has emerged as a major policy issue across Europe. Public health advocates, supported by the World Health Organisation, have challenged an approach that targets problem-drinking individuals, calling instead for governments to control consumption across whole populations through a combination of pricing strategies, restrictions on retail availability and marketing regulations.


Alcohol, Power and Public Health explores the emergence of the public health perspective on alcohol policy in Europe, the strategies alcohol control policy advocates have adopted, and the challenges they have faced in the political context of both individual states and the European Union.


The book provides a historical perspective on the development of alcohol policy in Europe using four case studies – Denmark, England, Scotland and Ireland. It explores the relationship between evidence, values and power in a key area of political decision-making and considers what conditions create – or prevent – policy change. The case studies raise questions as to who sets policy agendas, how social problems are framed and defined, and how governments can balance public health promotion against both commercial interests and established cultural practices.


This book will be of interest to academics and researchers in policy studies, public health, social science, and European Union studies.

chapter 1|35 pages


chapter 2|19 pages

Alcohol and public health

The EU context

chapter 3|15 pages

Alcohol and alcohol policy in Ireland

Historical background

chapter 5|20 pages

Alcohol and alcohol policy in England and Scotland

Historical background

chapter 6|19 pages

Alcohol policy in Scotland, 1990–2014

chapter 8|18 pages

Alcohol and alcohol policy in Denmark

Historical background

chapter 9|19 pages

Alcohol policy in Denmark, 1985–2015

chapter 10|13 pages


Alcohol, power and public health