Online alcohol sales and home delivery: An international policy review and systematic literature review
Background: Online alcohol sales are experiencing rapid growth in many places, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting new laws and regulations. There are no comprehensive and systematic analyses of the laws or their effectiveness. Objective: To summarise international policies governing online alcohol sale and delivery, including changes occurring with COVID-19, and examine available evidence of retailer compliance with such policies. Method: A policy review of 77 jurisdictions in six English-speaking OECD countries: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. We synthesised policies according to ten elements identified as potentially relevant for public health regulation. A systematic literature review of compliance evaluations in Medline, Medline Epub, EMBASE, CINAHL, Web of Science and Google Scholar. Results: 72 of 77 jurisdictions permitted online alcohol sales and home delivery. Few jurisdictions require age verification at the time of purchase (n = 7), but most require it at delivery (n = 71). Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, most jurisdictions (69%) have either temporarily or permanently relaxed liquor regulations for alcohol home delivery. Three articles examined retailer compliance with age restrictions and found relatively low compliance (0%-46%). Conclusion: Many jurisdictions permit the online sale and delivery of alcohol, but regulation of these sales varies widely. In most, regulations do not meet the same standard as bricks-and-mortar establishments and may be insufficient to prevent youth access.
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National Health and Medical Research Council