Alcohol prevention strategies: Prevention efforts should be different for men and women

Over the past few weeks in class, we’ve had conversations about alcohol use and risks associated with it. The NIAAA described the health risks associated with excessive drinkings such as heart disease, cancer, problems of the liver, pancreas and others such as sexually transmitted infections, violence, suicide. Most researchers believe that risks associated with alcohol drinking outweigh any potential health benefits from moderate drinking. As an example, Professor Walter Willett of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health thinks that heavy drinking is harmful.

What’s moderate drinking?


  The CDC  and NIAA defines the term “moderate drinking” as  

       1. Beer 12 ounces (5% alcohol content).

       2. For malt liquor 8 ounces  (7% alcohol content).

       3. For wine 5 ounces  (12% alcohol content).

       4. 1.5 ounces or a “shot” of 80-proof (40% alcohol content) distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, whisk


A new study on  Alcohol: Balancing Risks and Benefits concluded that there’s no amount of alcohol consumption that’s safe for overall health — a finding that’s likely to surprise moderate drinkers, and that has left some experts unconvinced.

The federal, state and local authorities in the US work together to minimize health risks associated with alcohol drinking.  

In this blog, I’m sharing some of the alcohol prevention strategies I’ve learned for the past few weeks while taking a class in Special topics in Epidemiology on alcohol and women.

  • Prohibitions of alcohol sponsorship of public events – Alcohol sponsorship by alcohol companies has been a  debated issue in recent months. According to a Sponsorship Today report, more than $1 billion was spent on sports sponsorships by beer companies alone in 2012. prohibition by integrating sports sponsorship with responsible consumption messages. 
  • Increases in price through excise taxes –Increase taxes have consistently been found to reduce alcohol consumption and problems, especially among youth. Alcohol excise taxes affect the price of alcohol and are intended to reduce alcohol-related harms, raise revenue, or both. Alcohol taxes are implemented at the state and federal level, and are beverage-specific (i.e., they differ for beer, wine, and spirits). In the US, Alabama and Washington’s state have some of the highest taxes on alcohol
  • Controls on alcohol advertising (especially on billboards, sides of buses, and in other public areas)-The alcohol industry are among the leading advertisers on billboards. Billboards advertising beer and hard liquor are readily visible to children. These advertisements expose and encourage excessive drinking among youth. Laws of Billboard advertisement in Georgia prohibits advertising alcoholic drinks and tobacco products at children, educational and medical institutions, culture and sports organizations within 100 meters radius of them is prohibited.

  • Limiting hours of sale:    –Another strategy to prevent excessive alcohol consumption and related harms is to limit access by limiting the hours during which alcohol can legally be sold.  In the US they differ from one state to another. In Atlanta, Georgia, packaged liquor may be sold between 12:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, and between 8:00 a.m. and 11:45 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Packaged beer and wine may be sold at any time except between midnight Saturday night and 12:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon, or between 11:30 p.m. Sunday night and 12:01 a.m. on Monday.  Alcoholic beverages may be served in bars and restaurants between 12:30 p.m. and midnight on Sunday, and between 9:00 a.m. and 2:30 a.m., Monday through Saturday.


Should we make these strategies different for women and men?

The answer to this question is YES. Alcohol offers each group a different spectrum of risks. It is necessary for everyone, especially policymakers to understand that alcohol affects women’s bodies differently. Unlike males, women are more likely to suffer the health and social effects of alcohol consumption. Also, women are vulnerable to the secondhand effects or alcohol harms of excessive alcohol consumption among others.

With a recent report on an increase in the number of women who drink, there should be an awareness of these health risks and make informed decisions about alcohol use. As such, it should be given special attention.

We also need to be aware that women are the target for more recent alcohol ads and campaigns. Advertisers market liquor as “diet” or “natural” in an effort to appeal to health-conscious women. 

“Mommy juice” and the Potential Consequences when Moms Drink

What is it?

“Mommy’s juice” refers to a beer or liquor for a mom who is tired of dealing with her screaming kids. There have been memes, jokes between friends, movies, and ads dedicated to women and their love for alcohol. Sometimes it can feel like there’s no escaping the “mommy juice” joke. I personally came across a meme with a picture of a woman drinking wine captioned “Never give up on something you can not go a day without thinking about”. They are considered “Funny” but they have a considerable impact on alcohol and its use. Another example is the commercial advertisement reported by the New York Times in the spring of 2019, a liquor company that produces a Mad housewife wine offered a Mother’s Day promotion: a six-pack of wine called Mommy’s Little Helper.

                picture by google


The biggest switch

  The biggest recent change in alcohol commercial advertisement and memes is that its target has been women. With the aim of normalizing very high-risk alcohol drinking through the internet.  Liquor companies and internet users share memes and advertisements that sadly become viral and embed messages. 

                picture by google

Taking more than 1 drink a day is a high risk for women and cause a lot of health problems attributable to alcohol. Women metabolize alcohol differently from men. Therefore, women are more likely to become drunk quickly than men and health problems often progress more quickly in women than in men. 

Potential consequences.

These memes and commercial products related to alcohol drinking have contributed to a startling increase in the number of women who drink in the US. The increased alcohol consumption pattern in women is no laughing matter.

Another noticeable effect of “mommy juice” is the increase of Alcohol-related deaths among women in the United States (Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) 2017). The study found that from the year 2007 to 2017, the number of alcohol-related deaths in the U.S. increased by 85% among women while deaths attributable to alcohol among men rose by 35%. That’s about 50% difference!

A study by Agbio, R et al (2017)  found that women are more likely to turn to alcohol for a negative reinforcement effect like to decrease feeling bad, and temporary melt away some anxiety and stress, while men tend to use alcohol for its positive reinforcement — they drink to party, “get wasted,” and have fun. The alcohol companies use this weakness to push their product by convincing women that their products can fix their problems.

Lastly, women need to be aware that the alcohol industry is targeting them deliberately and they aim at encouraging high-risk drinking by using themes like “Mommy juice”, “mommy burnout”, “mommy needs her wine”  in order to sell these products. A call for action by local and federal authorities to combat this problem before it’s too late is needed. I think this is not given much attention by the media and public health as it should. Just like the tobacco industry, I would like to suggest that serious action be taken against the advertising strategies. 


  1. Agabio, R., Pisanu, C., Gessa, G. L., & Franconi, F. (2017). Sex Differences in Alcohol Use Disorder. Current Medicinal Chemistry, 24(24). doi:10.2174/0929867323666161202092908 
  2. Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) 2017, Alcohol-related deaths Retrieved from