Experts on bmj.com have said that an international agreement, similar to the 2005 framework convention on tobacco control, is urgently needed.
The authors believe that such a convention would place restraints on the international trade in alcohol, and help legislators and governments learn about, and implement, effective evidence based policies on alcohol control.
Policymakers, they say, continue to use public information campaigns and education programmes to control alcohol related harms despite evidence that they are only marginally effective. Yet there is strong evidence that taxation and restricting availability, marketing and distribution of alcohol are what works, writes Laura Schmidt, and colleagues from Australia, Canada, Finland and the US.
They point out that the health and social harms caused by alcohol disproportionately effect the poorest populations of the world and that it is timely to apply the framework convention model to alcohol in developing countries such as Africa and South America.
Tobacco is controlled by the 2005 framework convention, narcotic drugs by the 1961 convention and psychoative substances by the 1971 convention.