Implementation of the “Best Buys” Alcohol Control Policies in Latvia from 1990 to 2020

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Latvia has among the highest alcohol consumption per capita in Europe. This study aimed to review the implementation of the WHO “best buys” alcohol control population-level policies in Latvia from 1990 to 2020.

Materials and Methods
A review of national-level policies on alcohol taxation, alcohol advertising and availability restrictions enacted by the highest policy-making authorities between 1990 and 2020 was conducted by using the Database of Legal Acts of the Republic of Latvia.

In 1993, the first restrictions on retail alcohol sales locations (kiosks, pavilions, sheds, and cars) were enacted followed by further restrictions. However, the restrictions had not been applied to on-premises sales locations. In 2020, revisions allowed online alcohol sales, which were banned in 2013. In 2002, the country-level restrictions on alcohol off-premises retail sales between 22:00 and 8:00 were implemented and the minimum age for purchasing all alcoholic beverages was established at 18 years. However, on-premises sales hours of alcoholic beverages have not been regulated in Latvia.

In 1995, alcohol advertising on TV and radio was prohibited, except for beer and wine. Since 2013, when outdoor advertising of all alcoholic beverages was prohibited, no additional restrictions on alcohol advertising or marketing have been enacted.

In 1994, the alcohol excise duty rates were changed to beverage-specific rates. Overall, 23 revisions on excise duty rates for alcoholic beverages were made from 1994 to 2020. However, the largest increase in excise tax for alcoholic beverages occurred during the economic recession in 2009. In general, the alcohol excise policy has not been consistent, taking into account the changes in inflation.

Throughout the studied period, several "best buys" for alcohol control have been adopted. However, more comprehensive restrictions on alcohol advertising, policies for decreasing alcohol affordability, and enforcing restrictions on alcohol availability should be implemented to reduce the high levels of alcohol consumption in Latvia.
Period29 Mar 2023
Event titleRSU Research week 2023: Society. Health. Welfare
Event typeConference
Conference number9
OrganiserRīga Stradiņš University
LocationRiga, LatviaShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational