Community Health Implications of Regulations Variances in Alcohol Retail

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  • Title: Community Health Implications of Regulations Variances in Alcohol Retail: An Examination of Access and Policy in Rural and Urban Nova Scotia
  • Author(s): Matthew Numer, Julie Mc Eachern, Felicia Rushton, Dan Steeves, James Whiteman, Sara Kirk
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Health, Wellness & Society
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Health, Wellness, and Society
  • Keywords: Alcohol, Alcohol Policy, Rural Health, Canadian Health, Health Policy, Nova Scotia, Primary Prevention, Population Health, Privatization
  • Volume: 9
  • Issue: 4
  • Year: 2019
  • ISSN: 2156-8960 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2156-9053 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2156-8960/CGP/v09i04/37-46
  • Citation: Numer, Matthew, Julie Mc Eachern, Felicia Rushton, Dan Steeves, James Whiteman, and Sara Kirk. 2019. "Community Health Implications of Regulations Variances in Alcohol Retail: An Examination of Access and Policy in Rural and Urban Nova Scotia." The International Journal of Health, Wellness, and Society 9 (4): 37-46. doi:10.18848/2156-8960/CGP/v09i04/37-46.
  • Extent: 10 pages

Abstract

Context: This report examines the potential health impact associated with the current state of alcohol retail formats within the Canadian Province of Nova Scotia, focusing on discrepancies between rural and urban regions. This research includes a review of the literature, a situational policy assessment, and reviewed documentation of alcohol retail practices in Nova Scotia in order to assess the potential impact on health. A growing body of global evidence demonstrates that greater levels of access to alcohol lead to increased levels of alcohol consumption, and greater levels of alcohol-related harm. This finding remains consistent within the Nova Scotia context. Research indicates that how alcohol is made available within communities (i.e., regulation, store location, design, and density) has a profound impact on health. According to this research, regulatory and policy gaps have led to a system wherein rural Nova Scotia retails alcohol within mixed-commodity stores (i.e., convenience, grocery, gas outlets), often co-locating highly marketed alcohol alongside products such as pop, candy, and salty snacks. In urban regions of the province, alcohol is sold within standalone stores (outlets that strictly sell alcohol) and caters exclusively to adults above the legal drinking age (19 in the Province of Nova Scotia). The mixed retail format is resulting in a system that disproportionally and negatively impacts rural communities of Nova Scotia. We conclude that given the continued overall increase in access to alcohol across Nova Scotia and the progressive expansion of the rural agency store system, an independent public health impact assessment should be completed.