Thailand leads Asia in reducing drinking & alcohol (with videos)

Thailand leads Asia in reducing drinking & alcohol (with videos)

Asian countries following Thailand's example where national alcohol policy persuaded two-thirds of Thais to stop drinking, despite forecast 70% of global beer growth in Asia-Pacific over next five years.

Men drink Saigon beers at a restaurant in Hanoi in this May photo. Beer sales in Vietnam have been climbing at at least double the pace of gross domestic product growth the past five years. (Reuters photo)


Thailand leading Asia in cracking down on drinking

Bloomberg News Agency

By banning alcohol sales near universities and technical colleges, Thailand is putting the nation at the forefront of efforts in Asia to curb booze consumption.

Under amendments to the Alcohol Control Act endorsed by the government Wednesday and to be implemented nationwide late next month, bars, clubs and retailers will be prohibited from selling alcoholic beverages within a 300-metre radius of higher-educational institutions. The measures are aimed at promoting a healthy lifestyle and tackling alcohol-related problems, including underage sex, the Ministry of Public Health said. 

Thailand is moving further than other governments in countering growing demand for alcohol in Asia and the Pacific, the fastest-growing beer market for brewer Heineken NV. The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for a 10% reduction in the harmful use of alcohol by 2025 from 2010 levels, implicating it in more than 200 diseases and injury conditions that the UN agency says kill about 3.3 million people a year. 

"Thailand has the strongest tradition of trying to curb alcohol consumption and reduce alcohol-related harms," said Juergen Rehm, professor and chair of addiction policy at the University of Toronto's Dalla Lana School of Public Health.

The government has a taxation mechanism that "enables them to tax the hell out of any beverage which is attractive to youth," said Mr Rehm, who has worked with authorities on alcohol programmes for the past decade.

Here is one of the more extreme advertisements aimed at curbing alcohol consumption:


University students from the Youth Network Against New Drinkers have pushed for a ban on alcohol sales near academic institutions for years. Alcohol consumption plateaued in Thailand after the 2008 release of a national policy that helped persuade more than two-thirds of Thais to abstain from booze, WHO data show. (Photo by Thiti Wannamontha)

Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, China and some states of India have also introduced policies over the past few years to sap alcohol demand. Beer sales in Vietnam have been climbing at at least double the pace of gross domestic product (GDP) growth the past five years, according to Euromonitor International. Across the region, they have climbed an average of 7.7% annually over the past five years.

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, the world's largest brewer, opened a brewery near Ho Chi Minh City in May, bolstering its supplies of Budweiser and Beck's beer.

"Asia-Pacific is now the third-largest zone of AB InBev in terms of volume, and Vietnam is considered the next turning point for us in Southeast Asia," said Michel Doukeris, the Belgian brewer's regional president, at an opening ceremony. The plant will eventually produce as much as 1 million hectolitres a year of the amber nectar.

Asia-Pacific will contribute more than 70% of global beer growth in the next five years, Heineken's regional president, Roland Pirmez, told a conference in March 2014, citing Canadean projections.


A worker stands near bottles of Regal Seven beer at Heineken's newly-opened brewery near Yangon July 12. (EPA photo)

Per capita alcohol consumption averaged 29 litres in the region in 2013, compared with 59 litres in Europe and 48 litres in the rest of the world, presenting "untapped growth potential," Mr Pirmez said. The Amsterdam-based company increased its stake in United Breweries Ltd, India's biggest beermaker, to 42.1% on July 7, less than a week before opening a US$60 million brewery near Yangon.

Myanmar has no national policy or action plan to tackle alcohol and there is no legal requirement that alcohol advertisements and containers carry health warnings, the WHO said in its 2014 Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health. Worldwide, more than a dozen countries had no legal minimum age for the consumption of alcohol


"This task of creating or strengthening a regulatory framework for alcohol turns out to be a task that countries ignore to their economic peril," said David Jernigan, director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland. (The school was renamed in 2001 in honour of Bloomberg LP founder Michael Bloomberg, a major donor.)

"Alcohol can be a serious risk not just to health, but to development given that in much of the world it's the leading cause of death and disability for people ages 15 to 49," Mr Jernigan said.

Waiters prepare glasses of beer for guests during the opening ceremony of the Heineken beer factory outside Yangon July 12. International brewers are trickling into Myanmar, betting that higher incomes and economic reforms will whip up a thirst for foreign beer. (Reuters photo)

Thailand recognised this years ago and is now considered a "model worldwide" for its ability to combine research and community mobilisation to "strengthen the national public health voice," he said in an interview.

Even still, the sales restrictions announced yesterday may do little to stop people from enjoying a tipple if they really want one, and may have a "limited" impact on sales volumes, said Philip Gorham, an equities analyst with Morningstar Inc in Amsterdam. Under existing regulations, retailers are also prohibited from selling alcohol between midnight and 11am and between 2pm and 5pm.


"I see them essentially as PR stunts by governments attempting to appear to be doing something good for public health," Mr Gorham said in an e-mail. "The broader point, however, is that developing markets are catching up on the regulatory front, or at least making efforts to." 

Taxation on alcohol has been used effectively in developed country markets to limit consumption and "disruptive tax increases would be a risk to emerging market volumes," Mr Gorham added.

After growing steadily for about 25 years, alcohol consumption plateaued in Thailand after the 2008 release of a national policy on alcohol that helped persuade more than two-thirds of Thais to abstain from booze, WHO data show.


The Philippines introduced a so-called "sin tax" on cigarettes and alcohol in 2012 that's increased the price of a litre of premium beer by 22 pesos (17 baht).

India's Kerala state in August enacted a law that would put it on the path to almost-complete prohibition in 10 years...

Another creative Thai anti-drinking advertisement:

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  • according to (prep): as stated or reported by somebody/something - ตามคำบอกเล่า, ตามรายงาน
  • Act: a law passed by a country’s government - พ.ร.บ. พระราชบัญญัติ
  • action plan: a plan of things to do in order to achieve goals -
  • addiction: a strong need that someone feels to regularly take an illegal or harmful drug - การติดยาเสพติด
  • advertisement (noun): advert; a short piece of video or words with pictures that makes people interesting in buying some product - การโฆษณา
  • agency (noun): a government department that provides a particular service - หน่วยงานราชการ
  • aim: to have as your purpose or goal - มีเป้าหมาย มีจุดมุ่งหมาย
  • alcohol: a drink containing alcohol - สุรา
  • alcohol: drinks such as whiskey, beer, wine, etc that make people feel good and become drunk - เหล้า, สุรา
  • alcoholic (noun): the disease of drinking a lot of drinks with alcohol (whiskey, beer, wine, etc), being addicted and not able to stop - ผู้ที่ติดเหล้า, ผู้ที่ติดสุรา
  • amendment: a change made to a law or agreement, in this case, to the constitution - การแก้ไขกฎหมาย ในที่นี้หมายถึงการแก้ไขรัฐธรรมนูญ
  • analyst: a person whose job involves examining facts or materials in order to give an opinion on them - นักวิเคราะห์
  • announce: to tell people something officially, especially about a decision, plans, etc - ประกาศ, แจ้ง, แจ้งให้ทราบ
  • annually: happening every year - ทุกๆปีด
  • anti (adjective): against - ตรงกันข้าม, ต้าน
  • appear: to be seen - ปรากฏ
  • at the forefront of: in the first or leading position of ... -
  • attractive: having features or qualities that make something seem interesting and worth having - น่าดึงดูด
  • authority (noun): a person or government agency who has the power to make decisions or enforce the law - เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
  • average: an amount calculated by adding several amounts together, finding a total, and dividing the total by the number of amounts - เฉลี่ย, ค่าเฉลี่ย
  • ban: an official statement ordering people not to do, sell or use something - การห้าม
  • based: where the main work of a business is done or controlled - ซึ่งเป็นศูนย์กลาง
  • beverage: a drink of any type - เครื่องดื่ม
  • bolster: to make something stronger or more effective - ทำให้เข้มแข็ง
  • brewer: a person or company that owns and operates a "brewery", a place where beer is made -
  • brewer: a company that makes beer or a place where beer is made - โรงงานต้มเหล้า
  • brewery: a company that makes beer or a place where beer is made - โรงงานต้มเหล้า
  • ceremony (noun): a formal public event - งานพิธี
  • climb: increase -
  • club: nightclub, a bar with dancing and entertainment that people with their friends at night -
  • community: the people living in one particular area - ชุมชน
  • compare (verb): to show or state that somebody/something is similar to somebody/something else - เปรียบเทียบ
  • complete: 100%, covering everything -
  • condition: the physical state of a person, animal, thing or place - สภาพ
  • conference (noun): a large official meeting, usually lasting for a few days, at which people with the same work or interests come together to discuss their views - การประชุมร่วม
  • consider: to regard as; to think of as - ถือว่า
  • consumption: using, eating or drinking something - การบริโภค
  • container: a large metal or wooden box of a standard size in which goods are packed so that they can easily be lifted onto a ship, train, etc. to be transported - ตู้บรรจุสินค้า
  • contribute: to be a part of a group or an activity and help it to be successful - สนับสนุน
  • control: To exercise restraining or governing influence over; to check; to counteract; to restrain; to regulate; to govern; to overpower - จัดการ, ควบคุม
  • counter: to go against - ต้าน, แย้ง
  • curb: to control or limit something - จำกัดขอบเขต, ควบคุม
  • decade: a period of ten years - ทศวรรษ
  • demand (noun): the need and desire of people to buy goods - อุปสงค์
  • developed country (noun): a rich industrialized country - ประเทศพัฒนา
  • development: the gradual growth of something so that it becomes more advanced, stronger, etc - การพัฒนา
  • director: one of a group of senior managers who run a company - กรรมการบริษัท
  • disability: an illness, injury or condition that makes it difficult for someone to do the things that other people do - ความพิการ
  • disease (noun): a health problem and problem with a person's body, often caused by an infection, either from a bacteria or virus - โรค
  • disruptive: causing difficulties that interrupt something or prevent it from functioning normally - ที่แตกแยก
  • donor (noun): a person who gives money or goods to an organisation, especially one that helps people - ผู้บริจาค
  • double: to become twice as big, twice as much or twice as many - เพิ่มเป็นสองเท่า
  • dozen: a group of twelve of the same thing - หนึ่งโหล
  • effectively: producing the result that was intended - ได้ผลดี
  • emerging market (noun): countries that have fast economic growth and growing rich quickly but are still developing - กลุ่มตลาดเกิดใหม่
  • enact: to pass into law - ออกกฎหมาย
  • endorsed: officially approved - รับรอง
  • equity (noun): stock shares - หุ้นทุน
  • essentially: for the most part - ที่สำคัญที่สุด
  • eventually: at the end of a period of time or at the end of a process - ในที่สุด
  • existing (adj): present now; in use now; used now - ที่มีอยู่
  • follow suit: to do the same thing as someone else - ทำตาม
  • framework: a system of rules, ideas or beliefs that is used to plan or decide something - ขอบข่ายงาน, โครงร่าง
  • front: a particular area of activity - ด้าน
  • further: more; additional - มากไปกว่านี้
  • GDP: gross domestic product, the total value of all goods and services produced in a country in a year, except for income received from money invested in other countries ผลิตภัณฑ์มวลรวมภายในประเทศ -
  • global: world - เกี่ยวกับโลก
  • gross domestic product: the total value of all goods and services produced in a country in a year, except for income received from money invested in other countries. It is often simply called GDP - ผลิตภัณฑ์มวลรวมภายในประเทศ
  • growth (noun): economic growth, an increase in economic activity - การเติบโต
  • harm: damage - ความเสียหาย
  • harmful: causing damage or injury to somebody/something, especially to a person's health or to the environment - เป็นอันตราย,เป็นภัย
  • higher-educational insitutions: schools for older students such as colleges and universities -
  • ignore: to intentionally not listen or give attention to - ทำเพิกเฉย
  • impact (noun): an effect or influence - ผลกระทบ
  • implement: to make something such as an idea, plan, system or law start to work and be used - นำแผนหรือนโยบายมาปฏิบัติ, นำมาใช้
  • implicate: to show or suggest that someone is involved in wrongdoing - โยงใยถึง
  • in terms of (verb): measured by -
  • injury (noun): physical damage done to a person or a part of their body - อาการบาดเจ็บ
  • institutions: large and important organizations, such as universities or banks - สถาบัน
  • interview: a meeting (often a public one) at which a person is asked questions in order to find out their opinions, experiences, etc. - การสัมภาษณ์
  • introduce (verb): to make somebody learn about something or do something for the first time - แนะนำ, แนะนำให้รู้จักกับ
  • leading (adjective): among the first and most important in a group - ชั้นหนึ่ง, ชั้นแนวหน้า, ชั้นนำ
  • legal: allowed by the law - ถูกต้องตามกฎหมาย
  • legal: relating to the law or lawyers - เกี่ยวกับกฎหมาย
  • level: the amount of something that exists in a particular situation at a particular time - ระดับ
  • lifestyle: the type of life that you have, for example the type of job or house you have or the type of activity you like doing - วิถีทางการดำเนินชีวิต, ลีลาชีวิต, รูปแบบการดำเนินชีวิต
  • limit: to stop something from increasing beyond a particular amount or level - จำกัด
  • limited: not much or enough; not very great in amount or extent - จำกัด
  • major: very large or important - สำคัญมาก
  • measure: a firm action taken to solve a problem or stop a dangerous unpleasant situation - มาตราการ
  • mechanism: a set of moving parts in a machine that performs a task - กลไก, ตัวจักร
  • minimum: the lowest possible; the lowest allowed - ต่ำที่สุด, น้อยที่สุด
  • mobilisation: bringing together for a particular purpose - การระดมพล
  • model: a person or thing that is considered an excellent example of something - แบบอย่าง, บุคคลตัวอย่าง
  • nation: a country considered as a group of people with the same language, culture and history, who live in a particular area under one government; all the people in a country - ประเทศ, คนในประเทศ
  • national (adjective): for the whole country - แห่งชาติ, ของชาติ
  • nationwide: throughout a whole country - ทั่วทั้งประเทศ
  • outpace: to move faster than somebody/something - ไปเร็วกว่า
  • pace: the speed at which something happens or is done - อัตรา
  • path: a plan of action or a way of achieving something - เส้นทาง, วิถีทาง, แนวทาง
  • per capita: per person, for each person - ต่อคน, รายหัว, ต่อหัว
  • peril: serious danger - การตกอยู่ในอันตราย, การเสี่ยงภัย
  • plant: a factory; a factory that produces power or processes chemicals, etc. - โรงงาน
  • policy (noun): a set of plans or action agreed on by a government, political party, business, or other group - นโยบาย
  • potential: possible in the future - ที่อาจเป็นไปได้
  • potential: what is possible - ความเป็นไปได้
  • PR: public relations; the activity of creating a good opinion among people about a person, product, company, or institution - งานประชาสัมพันธ์
  • premium: of higher quality or more expensive than other similar things - ที่มีคุณภาพสูง, พรีเมี่ยม
  • produce: things that have been made or grown, especially things connected with farming - ผลผลิต, ผลิตผล
  • professor: a university teacher of the highest rank - ศาสตราจารย์
  • prohibit: to not allow; to ban - ห้าม
  • prohibition: not allowing something; banning - (มีคำสั่ง)ห้าม
  • projection: a calculation or guess about the future based on information that you have - การคาดคะเน
  • promote: to encourage or support something - สนับสนุน
  • public health (noun): the health of all the people in a country, city or community and their health issues; also the name of a government department - การสาธารณสุข
  • public relations: the business of giving the public information about a particular organisation or person in order to create a good impression - งานประชาสัมพันธ์
  • radius: a particular distance in all directions from a central point - รัศมี
  • recognise: to accept that something is true or important - ยอมรับ
  • reduce: to make something smaller or less in amount, size, importance etc - ลดลง
  • reduction: the process or result of making something smaller or less in amount, size, importance etc - การลดลง
  • region: a large area of land or space, usually without exact limits or borders - ภูมิภาค, ขอบเขต, แถบ, บริเวณ
  • regional: of or relating to a region - เกี่ยวกับภูมิภาค
  • regulations: official rules that control the way things are done - ระเบียบ ข้อบังคับ
  • regulatory (adj): related to "regulations" , official rules on how to do different activities, usually made by the government - ซึ่งควบคุมบังคับ, ซึ่งมีอำนาจควบคุม
  • related (adj): connected with something/somebody; referring to something/somebody - เชื่อมโยงกับ
  • requirement: something that you must have or do in order to do or get something else - ข้อกำหนด, ข้อบังคับ
  • research: a careful study of a subject, especially in order to discover new facts or information about it - การวิจัย
  • restriction: a rule, action or situation that limits or controls someone or something - การจำกัด, การควบคุม
  • retailer: a person or company that sells goods directly to the public for their own use - ผู้ขายปลีก
  • risk: the possibility that something dangerous or unpleasant might happen - ความเสี่ยง
  • sap: to make someone feel weak - ค่อยๆ ทำลาย
  • stake: a share or a financial involvement in something such as a business - ส่วนได้เสีย
  • state: government - รัฐ
  • status: position - สถานภาพ
  • stunt: something dangerous, for example jumping from a building, that is done to entertain people, often as part of a film - การแสดงโลดโผน,การแสดงเสี่ยงอันตราย
  • stunt: something silly or unusual to which is done to get public attention -
  • supply (noun): an amount or quantity of something that is available to buy or use - อุปทาน
  • tackle: to make an organised and determined attempt to deal with a problem - จัดการกับปัญหา
  • task: something that you have to do - งาน, หน้าที่; ภารกิจ
  • taxation (noun): the system/process of collection taxes from the people - ระบบการจัดเก็บภาษี
  • technical college: a college that trains people for jobs in technology and other practical subjects - วิทยาลัยเทคนิค
  • the hell out of: do something very very much, very intensely -
  • tipple: a little drink of alcohol -
  • tradition: a very old custom, belief, or story - ประเพณี, ขนบธรรมเนียม
  • turn out: to be discovered to be; to prove to be - กลับกลายเป็น
  • turning point: a time when an important change takes place in a situation, especially one that makes it better - จุดที่มีการเปลี่ยนแปลง
  • university (noun): a school where students study for BA, MA, MS and PhD degrees and where research is done - มหาวิทยาลัย
  • untapped: not used yet; a resource that has not been used yet -
  • voice: to express your feelings or opinions - ออกความคิด
  • volume (noun): an amount of something - ปริมาณ
  • warning: an action or statement telling someone of a possible problem or danger - คำเตือน, การเตือน
  • worldwide: throughout the world - ทั่วโลก
  • zone: an area that has an important or typical feature; an area where a particular activity is allowed or not allowed - พื้นที่, บริเวณ, เขต
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