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Alcohol policy in Slovenia

All data on alcohol policy in Slovenia is gathered in publication Alcohol policy in Slovenia, published in 2016. The entire publication is available here. Here are some highlights from the contents.  

Not all effective measures yet introduced in Slovenia

In recent years, Slovenia has taken some important steps towards effective alcohol policy and introduced several measures to reduce alcohol use. The Media Act of 2001 put a total ban on alcohol advertising and the Act on Restricting the Use of Alcohol (ZOPA) adopted by the Government in 2003 contributed greatly to limiting alcohol availability, especially to young people. However, the total ban on alcohol advertising was valid only until 2002, when the Act on Regulating the Sanitary Suitability of Foodstuff, Products and Materials coming into Contact with Foodstuffs came into force, allowing alcohol advertising under certain conditions. The inclusion of healthcare measures in road-safety legislation in 2010 resulted in a significant decrease in traffic accidents involving alcohol use. The introduction of outpatient clinics in primary health care increased capacity for the preventive care of hazardous or harmful drinkers. The country’s investment in MOSA and its web portal and regular meetings of experts held at the national and local levels have also contributed to better networking among the key stakeholders.

However, Slovenia has not yet introduced all of the effective alcohol policy measures recommended at the international level and is, therefore, not listed among the most successful European countries (such as, Finland, Norway and Sweden) in this field. According to Mackenbach and Mckee, Slovenia is ranked 16th among 29 European countries with regard to the introduction of effective measures of alcohol policy. The opinion of most key stakeholders in the country is that alcohol policy is being implemented only to a limited extent and that political will to render it effective is not sufficient. To achieve better results, it is necessary to adopt a comprehensive strategy at the national and local levels, including effective measures to facilitate a better connection among the key stakeholders and ensure the required resources.

Recent changes

In the past two years, there were two proposals in Slovenia to amend the Act Restricting the Use of Alcohol (ZOPA) from 2003, which prohibited the sale and offer of alcohol in facilities and functional land where education and health activities are performed, at sport facilities where sport events take place, i.e. one hour before the start and during the sport event, and during working hours in the workplace. The first proposal was submitted in 2015 and was, after the consideration of the Health Care Committee, assessed as inappropriate for further consideration. In 2017 a group of MPs submitted a supplemented Proposal of the Act Amending the Act Restricting the Use of Alcohol (ZOPA-A) for consideration to the General Assembly, and this act would, after almost twenty years, once again permit the sale and offer of alcohol at sport events with the aim to stimulate the financing of sport organisations with income from the sale of alcohol. The Government of the Republic of Slovenia, the National Council Commission for social protection, work, health care and the disabled, the National Institute of Public Health, all professionals, non-governmental organisations and the general public (public opinion research) did not support the proposed amendments. All stakeholders warned that alcohol and sport are not compatible and that the sale and offer of alcohol at sport events would contribute to enhanced accessibility and increased marketing of alcohol. This would also strengthen the positive relation between drinking alcohol and sport, whereas, research shows that positive attitudes towards alcohol have a significant impact on the use of alcohol, which is on a quite high level in Slovenia.

Despite opposition, the proposal of the new act (ZOPA-A) was adopted in 2017. According to the ZOPA-A, the sale or offer of alcohol beverages containing less than 15 volume percent of alcohol (e.g. beer and wine, not spirits) can be sold or offered at sport facilities and functional land one hour before the start and during a public sport event. The organiser must acquire a permit issued by the administrative unit to sell or offer alcohol beverages at public events. Despite the fact that the act introduced the possibility of the sale and offer of alcohol at sport events, a doubling of the fines for violating legal provisions were introduced, i.e. for the sale of alcohol to minors or intoxicated people.

In 2016 the Excise Duties Act introduced a recognised own use of wine and beer that does not demand the registration and payment of excise duty. The permitted quantity of wine for own use amounts to a max. 600 litres per household or agricultural undertaking in a calendar year, and a quantity of beer that does not exceed 500 litres is considered as being for own use. The act also stipulates the introduction of a new excise duty subject, i.e. small beer producer, who will pay a 50% lower excise duty for beer production up to a max. 20,000 hectolitres. The amounts of excise duties for individual alcoholic beverages did not change in this period. The zero excise duty level for wine has also been preserved.

Implementation of different alcohol policy measures in Slovenia

Table below describes some alcohol policy measures, their cost-effectiveness and their level of implementation in Slovenia.

G O A L MEASURE EFFECTIVENESS OF MEASURE EXPENSE TO COUNTRY MEASURE ADOPTED IN SLOVENIA
To prevent driving under the influence of alcohol Gradual lowering of permitted level of blood alcohol in drivers to 0.2 g/l. Very effective Low PARTIALLY The highest permitted blood alcohol level is 0.50 g alcohol per kg blood.a
Introduction of 0.0 g/l permitted blood alcohol for young drivers, public-transport drivers and drivers of heavy-goods vehicles. Very effective Low YES a
Random testing for breath alcohol content. Very effective High YES Breath alcohol content in drivers must not exceed 0.24 mg/l. This limit applies only to drivers without signs of behavioural disorders (e.g. impaired speech, balance problems, etc.), which could cause traffic accidents. Professional drivers, driving instructors, new/young drivers and drivers transporting children, among others, are not permitted to have any alcohol in their bodies.a
Gradual acquisition of a driving licence. Moderately effective Low YES Adolescents aged 16–18 years must have an escort when driving. New/young drivers can participate in extra training at least six months after having received their driving licences. People who lose their driving licences due to drunk driving are required to participate in rehabilitation programmes to regain them.b
To limit alcohol availability Lowering the age limit for drinking alcohol. Very effective Medium NO
Introduction of national-level control of retail sale of alcohol (state monopoly of alcohol sales; introduction of alcohol licensing). Very effective Low NO state monopoly For sale or supply of alcoholic beverages at public events, the organizer must obtain a license issued by the administrative unit (not yet implemented).
Lowering the age limit of customers to whom alcohol may be sold. Very effective No data YES Selling and offering alcoholic beverages to persons under 18 years of age has been banned.c
Limitation of selling points. Moderately effective Low NO
Limitation of sales to certain times (hours/days). Moderately effective Low YES The sale of alcoholic beverages in stores between 21:00 and 07:00 hours, and of spirits in bars and restaurants between the start of working hours and 10.00 hours, is banned.c
To increase and regulate prices Increasing minimum tax rates for all alcoholic beverages in accordance with inflation (rates should be at least proportional to alcohol content). Introduction of minimum alcohol pricing. Introduction of ban on discounts and promotional prices. Added tax on alcopops. Very effective Low PARTIALLY Excise duties have been imposed on beer, intermediate beverages and ethylene alcohol. Excise duties have not been set, or are equal to €0, for wine and fermented beverages.d Excise duties are not in accordance with inflation.
To reduce hazardous/harmful drinking Brief interventions in primary health care for hazardous alcohol users. Very effective Medium PARTIALLY The measure is being implemented in the framework of the Drivers Actb and the National Programme for the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Diseases. Not all doctors of general/family medicine detect hazardous and harmful alcohol use, although clinical guidelines on early detection and brief interventions are available.
  Treatment of mental and behavioural disorders and other diseases related to alcohol use. Very effective Medium/high YES Treatment costs are covered by health insurance.
Other Increasing responsibility of staff serving alcoholic beverages. Moderately effective Low NO Serving alcoholic beverages to under-aged people or people showing signs of being drunk is prohibited.c The financial fine, however, is imposed only on the person legally responsible (e.g. the bar owner) and not on serving staff.
Limiting alcohol advertising. Moderately effective Low PARTIALLY Advertising beverages with alcoholic content over 15% vol. has been banned. Advertising beverages with alcohol content below 15% vol. is permitted on radio and television between 21:30 and 07:00 hours only and in cinemas after 22:00 hours.e

a Act on Rules in Road Transport; b Drivers Act; c Act on Restricting the Use of Alcohol; d Excise Duties Act; e Act on Regulating the Sanitary Suitability of Foodstuff and Products and Materials coming into Contact with Foodstuff (when following hyperlinks choose English as a language in the right upper corner of the page)

Table is based on the following sources and reproduced with the permission of the authors:
Babor TF, Ceatano R, Casswell S, Edwards G, Giesbrecht N, Graham K et al. Alcohol: no ordinary commodity. Research and Public Policy. Second edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010; Anderson P, Baumberg B. Alcohol in Europe. London: Institute of Alcohol Studies; 2006 (ec.europa.eu/health/archive/ph_determinants/life_style/alcohol/documents/alcohol_europe_en.pdf, accessed 2 May 2016).; Evidence for the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of interventions to reduce alcohol-related harm. Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office for Europe; 2009 (www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/43319/E92823.pdf, accessed 3 May 2016).; Handbook for action to reduce alcohol related harm. Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office for Europe; 2009 (www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0012/43320/E92820.pdf, accessed 3 May 2016).; Deutsche Hauptstelle fur Suchtfragen e.V. (DHS). Reducing drinking and driving in Europe. Report. Hamm; DHS; 2008 (www.dhs.de/fileadmin/user_upload/pdf/Pathways_for_Health-Project/reducing_drinking_and_driving_report.pdf, accessed 3 May 2016).; Deutsche Hauptstelle fur Suchtfragen e.V. (DHS). Reducing drinking and driving in Europe. Recommendations & conclusions. Hamm; DHS; 2008 (www.dhs.de/fileadmin/user_upload/pdf/Pathways_for_Health-Project/reducing_drinking_and_driving_conclusions.pdf, accessed 3 May 2016).; Anderson P, Chisholm D, Fuhr DC. Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of policies and programmes to reduce the harm caused by alcohol. The Lancet. 2009; 373:2234–46 (www.who.int/choice/publications/p_2009_CE_Alcohol_Lancet.pdf, accessed 3 May 2016).; Anderson P, Gual A, Colom J. Alcohol and primary health care: clinical guidelines on identification and brief interventions. Barcelona: Department of Health of the Government of Catalonia; 2005 (www.gencat.cat/salut/phepa/units/phepa/pdf/cg_1.pdf, accessed 3 May 2016).; Gual A, Anderson P, Segura L, Colom J. Alcohol and primary health care: training programme on identification and brief interventions. Barcelona: Department of Health of the Government of Catalonia; 2005 (www.phepa.net/units/phepa/pdf/tripa_training_ok.pdf, accessed 3 May 2016); Kolšek M. O pitju alkohola: priročnik za zdravnike družinske medicine. 2. dopolnjena izdaja [About alcohol drinking: a manual for family physicians; 2nd revised edition]. Ljubljana: Department of Family Medicine of the University of Ljubljana; 2011.

Legislation

(when following hyperlinks choose English as a language in the right upper corner of the page)

Other sources used

Mackenbach JP, Mckee M, editors. Successes and failures of health policy in Europe. Copenhagen: World Health Organization; 2013 (acting as the host organization for, and secretariat of, the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies) (www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/215989/Successes-and-Failures-of-Health-Policy-in-Europe.pdf, accessed 25 May 2016).

Petrič VK. Razvoj alkoholne politike [Alcohol policy development]. In: Zorko M, Hočevar T, Tančič Grum A, Petrič VK, Radoš Krnel S, Lovrečič M, Lovrečič B. Alkohol v Sloveniji. Trendi v načinu pitja, zdravstvene posledice škodljivega pitja, mnenja akterjev in predlogi ukrepov za učinkovitejšo alkoholno politiko [Alcohol in Slovenia. Trends in the way of drinking, health consequences of harmful drinking, stakeholders’ opinions and suggested measures for an effective alcohol policy]. Ljubljana: National Institute of Public Health; 2014 (www.nijz.si/sites/www.nijz.si/files/publikacije-datoteke/alkohol_v_sloveniji_0.pdf, accessed 26 August 2016).

Radoš Krnel S, Albreht T, Omerzu M, Švab I, Markič M. Mnenje akterjev o izvajanju aktivnosti na področju alkoholne politike v Sloveniji [Stakeholders’ opinions on the implementation of the alcohol policy activities in Slovenia]. Slovenian Medical Journal. 2011;80(6):458–68 (www.dlib.si/preview/URN:NBN:SI:DOC-0J2VOXX6/48ef875c-2c7a-4688-ba31-abe9579205c, accessed 26 August 2016).

Radoš Krnel S, Kamin T, Košir M, Markič M. Interesi akterjev alkoholne politike skozi njihovo mnenje o ukrepih alkoholne politike v Sloveniji [Stakeholders’ interests through their opinions on the alcohol policy measures in Slovenia]. Slovenian Journal of Public Health. 2010;49 (2):86–98 (www.dlib.si/preview/URN:NBN:SI:DOC-OR6RWVME/f3e844c9-d4ed-4a7b-9798-f5234d-6b94ea, accessed 25 May 2016).

Anderson P, Gual A, Colom J. Alcohol and primary health care: clinical guidelines on identification and brief interventions. Barcelona: Department of Health of the Government of Catalonia; 2005 (www.gencat.cat/salut/phepa/units/phepa/pdf/cg_1.pdf, accessed 3 May 2016).

Gual A, Anderson P, Segura L, Colom J. Alcohol and primary health care: training programme on identification and brief interventions. Barcelona: Department of Health of the Government of Catalonia; 2005 (www.phepa.net/units/phepa/pdf/tripa_training_ok.pdf, accessed 3 May 2016).

Kolšek M. O pitju alkohola: priročnik za zdravnike družinske medicine. 2. dopolnjena izdaja [About alcohol drinking: a manual for family physicians; 2nd revised edition]. Ljubljana: Department of Family Medicine of the University of Ljubljana; 2011.

 

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