Public health tools for holding self-regulators accountable: lessons from the alcohol experience

Health Promot Pract. 2011 May;12(3):336-40. doi: 10.1177/1524839911404233.


Self-regulation is a common strategy used by industries to avoid or supplement statutory health and safety regulation of their products and practices. The public health experience with self-regulation in the alcohol industry provides methods and lessons relevant to health educators and advocates working in other public health fields. Methods for and examples and limitations of monitoring content and placement of marketing messages are described. The alcohol experience shows that, although self-regulation has many drawbacks in terms of protecting the health of the public, there are tools available for valid monitoring of self-regulated activities that, when combined with aggressive dissemination of results to media and policy makers, can make self-regulation more accountable and build an evidence base for effective measures to be taken.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Advertising / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Advertising / methods
  • Advertising / standards
  • Alcoholic Beverages / standards*
  • Humans
  • Public Health / methods*
  • Social Control, Informal / methods*
  • Social Responsibility*
  • United States