“They start on the zero-alcohol and they wanna try the real thing”: Parents' views on zero-alcohol beverages and their use by adolescents

Nathan J. Harrison, Christina A. Norris, Ashlea Bartram, Michael Murphy, Simone Pettigrew, Ally O. Dell, Robin Room, Caroline Miller, Ian Olver, Marina Bowshall, Cassandra J.C. Wright, Rebecca Jenkinson, Jacqueline Bowden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Zero-alcohol beverages containing 0.0–0.5% alcohol by volume may offer public health benefits if individuals use them to substitute for alcohol-containing products, thereby reducing alcohol use. There are, however, concerns that zero-alcohol beverages may encourage adolescents’ earlier interest in alcohol and increase exposure to alcohol company branding. As this poses a challenge for parents, we studied parents’ views on zero-alcohol beverages and their provision to adolescents.

We interviewed n=38 parents of 12–17-year-olds and used reflexive thematic analysis to interpret interview data.

Parents considered zero-alcohol beverages to be ‘adult beverages’ that potentially supported reduced adult drinking but were unnecessary for adolescents. Parents were concerned that adolescent zero-alcohol beverage use could normalise alcohol consumption and be a precursor to alcohol initiation. There was a potential conflict between moderate provision in ‘appropriate’ contexts, and potential benefits, which were each supported by some parents. Uncertainty on health qualities was also reported.

Parents reported conflicting and cautious views on zero-alcohol beverage provision to adolescents.

Implications for Public Health
As evidence on the impacts of zero-alcohol beverage availability develops, parent-targeted messages highlighting the potential risk of normalisation of alcohol use for young people could be developed, in conjunction with broader policy responses.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100119
Number of pages10
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Early online date3 Mar 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Mar 2024


  • NoLo
  • adolescent health
  • parents
  • qualitative research
  • zero-alcohol beverages


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