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The alcohol industry is very powerful
A number of European health organizations have concluded that the influence of the alcohol industry on the policy of national and European governments is very effective. The result of this is that essential (evidence based) policy changes are held off and the dramatic damages caused by alcohol are not contained. The success of the industry, according to these organizations, means that many people die unnecessarily due to alcohol use and that costs for society are kept needlessly high.
Research of the Sheffield University (2008) on the effect of the introduction of a minimum price for alcohol in England and Scotland shows that this measure actually protects harmful drinkers. The measure hardly has any effect on the moderate drinkers. Annually a minimum price for alcohol can prevent many deaths, thousands of hospitalizations and many absent days from work. While considered a ‘win-win’ measure, the alcohol industry in 2010 successfully aborted the introduction of a minimum price for alcohol in Scotland, through the intensive lobbying of politicians.
Screening the alcohol industry lobby
Eleven organizations from different countries, that are concerned about the successful lobby of the alcohol industry, have jointly analyzed this lobby. The results of this are captured in the report “The Seven Key Messages of the Alcohol Industry”. The report can be ordered through EUCAM (www.EUCAM.info), a partnership of a number of European health organizations.
Quote from the report (page 3):
For politicians and health experts it is important that they reveal to the public the subversive messaging of the alcohol industry and do not fall prey to the industry’s half-truths—or worse—out right lies. It is essential that experts have the best possible information about the harmful effects of alcohol consumption.
The alcohol industry tries to prevent the information about the harmful consequences of consumption from becoming public by purposefully ignoring or denying the important and harmful effects of drinking. The result is that too often a highly glamorized and positive image is protracted to consumers in many societies.
The seven messages of the industry that are illuminated through examples from various countries are:
- Consuming alcohol is normal, common, healthy and very responsible.
- The damage done by alcohol is caused by a small group of deviants who cannot handle alcohol.
- Normal adult non-drinkers do not, in fact, exist.
- Ignore the fact that alcohol is a harmful and addictive chemical substance (ethanol) for the body.
- Alcohol problems can only be solved when all parties work together.
- Alcohol marketing is not harmful. It is simply intended to assist the consumer in selecting a certain product or brand.
- Education about responsible use is the best method to protect society from alcohol problems.
This new report focussus on the Seven Key Messages that are used by the Alcohol Industry. The purpose of this report is to give politicians, officials and health organizations insight into the strategic working manners and thinking of the alcohol industry.
Full report available at; Alcohol Marketing Lobby