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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Implementing a Public Health Objective for Alcohol Premises Licensing in Scotland: A Qualitative Study of Strategies, Values, and Perceptions of Evidence
Author(s): Fitzgerald, Niamh
Nicholls, James
Winterbottom, Jo
Katikireddi, Srinivasa Vittal
Keywords: alcohol
outlet density
public involvement
Issue Date: 23-Feb-2017
Citation: Fitzgerald N, Nicholls J, Winterbottom J & Katikireddi SV (2017) Implementing a Public Health Objective for Alcohol Premises Licensing in Scotland: A Qualitative Study of Strategies, Values, and Perceptions of Evidence, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14 (3), Art. No.: 221.
Abstract: The public health objective for alcohol premises licensing, established in Scotland in 2005, is unique globally. We explored how public health practitioners engaged with the licensing system following this change, and what helped or hindered their efforts. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 13 public health actors, audio-recorded, and analysed using an inductive framework approach. Many interviewees viewed the new objective as synonymous with reducing population-level alcohol consumption; however, this view was not always shared by licensing actors, some of whom did not accept public health as a legitimate goal of licensing, or prioritised economic development instead. Some interviewees were surprised that the public health evidence they presented to licensing boards did not result in their hoped-for outcomes; they reported that licensing officials did not always understand or value health data or statistical evidence. While some tried to give “impartial” advice to licensing boards, this was not always easy; others were clear that their role was one of “winning hearts and minds” through relationship-building with licensing actors over time. Notwithstanding the introduction of the public health objective, there remain significant, and political, challenges in orienting local premises licensing boards towards decisions to reduce the availability of alcohol in Scotland.
DOI Link: 10.3390/ijerph14030221
Rights: © 2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (

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