France: Alcohol Industry Attacks Public Health Experts
Public health experts in France have called out the alcohol industry for lobbying the French government and diminishing alcohol control policy at the cost of public health. The alcohol industry lobby front group Vin & Société attacked public health experts for this claim stating “denigration” of the wine sector and its “cultural importance” to France.
Alcohol consumption in France has stopped decreasing for the first time since World War II in what France’s Académie Nationale de Médicine called a major setback for public health. Alcohol kills 41,000 people per year in France and consumption was the same in 2017 as in 2013. The academy believes this is because government policy has proved too susceptible to alcohol industry lobbying.
While calling for more and better evidence-based measures on alcohol control, the national academy for medicine stated “government ministers appeared to give wine a special status, even though it accounts for half of France’s alcohol consumption”.
The alcohol policy best buy solutions that the public health experts are urging the government to adopt are:
- Minimum unit price on alcohol;
- Health warning on bottle labels, saying that ‘alcohol is a danger to health’, as well as mandatory calorie labeling; and
- Strengthening of France’s Evin Law, which has governed alcohol marketing in France since 1991 – but has been watered down by alcohol industry lobbying in recent years.
Vin & Société cited their support on an industry funded campaign seeking to tell pregnant women not to use alcohol, while calling for a balanced approach. However, evidence has shown that such alcohol industry campaigns lack effective results in reducing alcohol harm and only build a better image of the alcohol industry.