News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


Health Impacts of Alcohol - Should The Public Know?

MEDIA RELEASE – 25th July 2013


Should the public be allowed to know about the health impacts of alcohol?


A major report on the effects of alcohol on the health of the New Zealand populations was released last week by the Health Promotion Agency (Alcohol-attributable burden of disease and injury in New Zealand: 2004 and 2007) demonstrating that approximately 800 premature deaths every year in New Zealand are attributable to drinking alcohol. Thirty per cent of those deaths are due to cancers of various kinds.

Professor Ian Shaw of the University of Canterbury thinks that releasing this report shows that the researchers “need to gain perspective” (The Press 18 July), because people die on the roads as well and it doesn’t stop us driving. In fact, driving is one of the most regulated activities that members of the general public participate in, and regulation has had the effect of reducing the road toll from 795 in 1987 to 259 in 2011 despite the huge increase in cars. Around thirty percent of the current road carnage is alcohol-related, and the Ministry of Transport’s Road Safety Strategy 2010-2020 states: “Lowering the adult drink-drive limit would be the strongest initiative in the area of safe road use”.

Professor Shaw attacks the credibility of the researchers (which include the lead members of the World Health Organization Global Burden of Disease 2010 Risk Factors Collaborating Group on Alcohol) by stating that “it was not actually known if alcohol was carcinogenic”, and that it is important to know what particular type of alcohol (meaning beverage) was involved. He doesn’t seem to be aware of the vast body of international research that underlies studies of this kind, and that alcohol (ethanol) is classified as a Group 1 carcinogen by the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer. Beverage type has been subject to much research and is irrelevant when discussing the health impacts of alcohol.

What is known from the accumulated scientific evidence that has been synthesised in the new report is that in New Zealand, alcohol consumption is one of the most important risk factors for avoidable mortality and disease in early and middle adulthood, and contributes substantially to loss of good health across the life course. This is due to the toxic properties of alcohol and to the pattern of alcohol drinking in New Zealand. The way to reduce the harm is to reduce heavy drinking.

Fortunately we know what is effective in reducing heavy drinking in populations and that is having controls on alcohol price and availability, and getting rid of alcohol marketing.

Professor Shaw asserts: ''Both risk and benefit should be balanced to draw sensible conclusions. Another benefit is enjoyment - this should not be discounted either.''

New Zealanders do need to know the risks. They are constantly bombarded with slick alcohol advertising telling them, as Professor Shaw does now too, that the risks are unproven and the benefits are huge. The facts paint a quite different picture of significant risks and grossly overstated benefits.


ends


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Architecture:
Ian Athfield Dies In Wellington

New Zealand Institute of Architects: It is with great sadness that we inform Members that Sir Ian Athfield, one of New Zealand's finest architects, has passed away in Wellington. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington Production: New-Look Tracy Brothers Are F.A.B.

ITV and New Zealand’s Pukeko Pictures today released an exclusive preview of the new-look Tracy brothers from this year’s hotly anticipated new series, Thunderbirds Are Go. More>>

ALSO:

Cardinal Numbers:
Pope Francis Names Archbishop From NZ Among New Cardinals

Announcing a list of bishops to be made Cardinals in February Pope Francis named Archbishop John Dew, Archbishop of Wellington, overnight from Rome. On hearing the news of the announcement, Archbishop John Dew said "This news is recognition of the Catholic Church in Aotearoa New Zealand, and the contribution it makes to the global Catholic family." More>>

ALSO:

Nomenclature: Charlotte And Oliver Top Baby Names For 2014

Charlotte and Oliver were the most popular names for newborn girls and boys in 2014... The top 100 girls’ and boys’ names make up a small proportion of the more than 12,000 unique first names registered for children born this year, says Jeff Montgomery, Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriage. More>>

Werewolf: Katniss Joins The News Team

From the outset, the Hunger Games series has dwelt obsessively on the ways that media images infiltrate our public and personal lives... From that grim starting point, Mockingjay Part One takes the process a few stages further. There is very little of the film that does not involve the characters (a) being on screens (b) making propaganda footage to be screened and (c) reacting to what other characters have been doing on screens. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Ko Witi Te Kaituhituhi

Witi Ihimaera, the distinguished Māori author and the first Māori to publish a book of short stories and a novel, has adopted a new genre with his latest book. But despite its subtitle, this book is a great deal more than a memoir of childhood. More>>

Werewolf: Rescuing Paul Robeson

Would it be any harder these days, for the US government to destroy the career of a famous American entertainer and disappear them from history – purely because of their political beliefs? You would hope so. In 1940, Paul Robeson – a gifted black athlete, singer, film star, Shakespearean actor and orator – was one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. More>>

ALSO:

"Not A Competition... A Quest": Chapman Tripp Theatre Award Winners

Big winners on the night were Equivocation (Promising Newcomer, Best Costume, Best Director and Production of the Year), Kiss the Fish (Best Music Composition, Outstanding New NZ Play and Best Supporting Actress), and Watch (Best Set, Best Sound Design and Outstanding Performance). More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news