Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 


A danger lurking in wait for the holiday season

A danger lurking in wait for the holiday season – UC economics lecturer

November 23, 2012

There's a danger lurking in wait for us this holiday season, a University of Canterbury (UC) senior economics lecturer Dr Eric Crampton said today.

As people head for the bach and beaches, they will hear many warnings about holiday drinking, he said.

``But nobody warns us about the warnings. And, there's danger in that as well, since some of the warnings are either false or badly overstated,’’ he said.

Dr Crampton will be delivering a public lecture on campus next Wednesday on the issues of alcohol and what if alcohol's social costs were overstated.

He will discuss his work comparing social costs, as measured in the public health literature, with more standard economic notions of cost.

Recent figures alleging a $4.8 billion social cost of alcohol, when re-examined using more standard method, found that only about a fifth of that figure would properly count.

People enjoy moderate drinking; policy focused exclusively on curbing the harms experienced by heavy drinkers while ignoring moderate drinkers’ enjoyment which risks doing more harm than good.

Dr Crampton will discuss the influence of bad statistics around alcohol on the Law Commission’s review and on legislation before noting some of the other, less publicised, findings around alcohol and moderate drinking.

``It is hard to open the paper without finding dire warnings about alcohol's costs to the country. But how often do we hear that drinkers earn more than non-drinkers? Or that light drinkers have lower mortality risk than non-drinkers? Or that light-to-moderate drinking predicts better aging outcomes? Or, that light drinking during pregnancy really does not seem associated with adverse outcomes?

``Should we really count the $700 million that heavier drinkers spent on their own alcohol as being a cost to the country?

``We often see statistics cited showing the increase in per capita alcohol consumption since 1997: from 1997 to 2011, it increased by 16 percent. But the Statistics New Zealand series from which those figures are drawn do go back to 1986, before liberalisation of New Zealand’s alcohol laws.

``Alcohol consumption dropped by more than a third from 1986 to 1997; we remain well below the consumption levels that prevailed prior to 1992. Problem drinking among youths, on the whole, is no worse now than it was prior to the alcohol purchase age being reduced to 18. There really seems little basis for claims that New Zealand faces worse outcomes around alcohol now than it did 20 years ago.

While there were serious and real harms associated with heavy drinking, moderate drinkers should use common sense this holiday season, relax, and enjoy themselves, Dr Crampton said.

Drinking up to two standard drinks per day was associated with reasonable health benefits and drinking up to four standard drinks per day was no worse than abstinence in aggregate health outcomes, he said.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Culture: Rare Hundertwasser Conservation Posters Found After 40 Years

When Jan and Arnold Heine put a roll of conservation posters into storage in 1974 they had no idea that 42 years later they would be collectors items. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: The Stolen Island: Searching for ‘Ata by Scott Hamilton

Reviewed by Michael Horowitz
Located even further south than temperate Noumea, Tonga’s tiny island of ‘Ata might have become the jewel of the kingdom’s burgeoning tourist industry. Imagine a Tongan resort that would not only be mild in winter, but pleasant in summer. More>>

Reviewed by Michael Horowitz
Located even further south than temperate Noumea, Tonga’s tiny island of ‘Ata might have become the jewel of the kingdom’s burgeoning tourist industry. Imagine a Tongan resort that would not only be mild in winter, but pleasant in summer. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: No Pretence. No Bullshit. Fine Poem.

John Dickson doesn’t publish much; never has. Indeed, this new collection is his first such in 18 years. As he wryly and dryly states,

I’ve published two slim volumes, and spent all
My time working on the next.
(from Wasp p.67) More>>

Scoop Review of Books: Extraordinary Anywhere: Essays On Place From Aotearoa NZ

The New Zealand landscape undoubtedly is very beautiful, but so is the British one, and my attachment to this country is much more about some particular places, and the memories and emotions that in them combine, than it is about the landscape as a whole. More>>

Canonisation Fodder: Suzanne Aubert Declared ‘Venerable’

Suzanne Aubert, the founder of the Sisters of Compassion New Zealand’s home grown order of Sisters, has been declared ‘venerable’, a major milestone on the path to sainthood in the Catholic Church. More>>

“I Have Not Performed Well Enough”: Ernie Merrick Leaving Wellington Phoenix

Ernie Merrick has stepped down from his position as Wellington Phoenix FC Head Coach. The club would like to thank Ernie for his contribution to Wellington Phoenix and wish him all the best in his future endeavours. More>>

Ray Columbus: NZ Music Icon Passes Away

60s New Zealand music Icon Ray Columbus has passed away peacefully at his home north of Auckland... Ray Columbus enjoyed more than three decades at the top of NZ entertainment as a singer, songwriter, bandleader, music manager and TV star. More>>

Review: Bernard Herrmann's Scores For 'Vertigo' & 'Psycho'

Howard Davis: The NZSO's adventurousness was richly-rewarded, as the deeply appreciative Wellington audience was given the opportunity not only to see a couple of Alfred Hitchcock's greatest films, but also to hear fine renditions of two of Bernard Herrmann's most accomplished film scores. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Culture
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news