Smartphone apps for alcohol health promotion

Risky drinking is a serious health concern for young people. Seventeen per cent of Australians aged 16-17, 29 per cent aged 18-19, and 24 per cent aged 20-29 drink at levels which put them at risk of short term harms, at least monthly.

Short term harms of risky drinking can include nausea, vomiting, headaches, memory loss and overdose.

Risky drinking is also associated with risky behaviours and impaired judgement increasing the risk of motor vehicle accidents, falls, assaults, and risky sexual behaviour, as well as financial and emotional problems.

Novel health promotion measures are urgently needed to address this important health issue.

Disseminating health promotion messages via mobile phones can overcome many of the barriers to traditional dissemination strategies (e.g. radio, billboards).

Over 95 per cent of young Australians own and use a mobile phone and smartphone ownership in Australia is nearing 50 per cent of the market.

Smartphones utilise applications (apps), software designed for specific purposes for use on smartphones. Millions of apps have been downloaded by millions of people worldwide.

An app using a combination of health promotion theory and youth-friendly communication technology could be an effective way to reduce and manage risky drinking behaviours that actually reaches young people in appropriate locations (e.g. the settings in which they actually drink). There is a need to conduct formative research of available apps related to drinking.

This pilot study aims to investigate the use of smart phone applications (apps) for health promotion.

The project has two objectives;

  • To review existing alcohol-related Apps
  • To determine young people’s opinions of Apps for binge drinking health promotion.

This will include a systematic and critical review of apps available for download and conducting community focus groups with young people to determine acceptability and potential for using Apps to promote anti-binge drinking messages.


ARF (Australian Rechabite Foundation)

Contact Details

For any general enquiries relating to this project, please contact:

Associate Professor Megan SC Lim

Deputy Program Director, Disease Elimination; Head, Young People’s Health