Better health and well-being is on everybody’s priority, specifically with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. And therefore, good governance means putting citizen’s health above all else.
But alcohol stands in the way of people enjoying good health and well-being. It’s a toxic, addictive substance causing seven types of cancer. But awareness of the alcohol and cancer link remains low. Recently, the Cancer Council in Australia found that only one in five Australians knew that alcohol caused cancer. Awareness was even lower for the link between alcohol and breast cancer.
To increase people’s awareness that alcohol causes cancer the Cancer Council will be rolling out a public health awareness advertising campaign. The health advertisement is titled “Spread: Alcohol causes cancer. Reduce your drinking to reduce your risk”. It features a video showing how alcohol causes various types of cancer as it travels through the human blood stream. The advertisement ends with advising people to limit alcohol use to the low-risk guidelines to reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases.
Awareness coupled with a solution shows potential to inspire people to reduce alcohol use
A new study has found the “Spread” health awareness TV advertisement coupled with a solutions for how to reduce alcohol use helps Australian’s to cut down on their alcohol consumption.
Many people don’t know that alcohol is a carcinogen – it’s important information that [consumers] should have access to,” said Professor Simone Pettigrew, the study’s lead author and head of food policy at The George Institute for Global Health, as per The News Daily.
But telling people alcohol causes cancer is just part of the solution – we also need to give them ways to take action to reduce their risk.”Simone Pettigrew, study lead author, head of food policy, The George Institute for Global Health
The study was conducted among 8000 Australian adults who broadly represented the population. The study examined the efficacy of a range of ‘why to reduce’ and ‘how to reduce’ alcohol reduction communications.
The findings of the study show that combining the ‘why to reduce’ TV advertisement (the “Spread” advertisement by the Cancer Council) with ‘how to reduce’ method of counting the number of alcoholic beverages led to increased attempts to reduce alcohol use and reduced alcohol use among participants.
Pairing information about alcohol and cancer with a particular practical action – counting their [alcoholic beverages] – resulted in [users] reducing the amount of alcohol they consumed,” said Professor Simone Pettigrew, the study’s lead author, head of food policy at The George Institute for Global Health, as per The News Daily.Simone Pettigrew, study lead author, head of food policy, The George Institute for Global Health
Lead author Professor Pettigrew also stresses that people misinterpret the low-risk guidelines of no more than 10 units of alcohol per week, as a green light to have alcohol. In truth the guidelines are meant to reduce risk, but they do not mean zero risk. Only zero alcohol use means zero risk.
Furthermore, another recent study revealed that being obese or overweight increases alcohol’s liver damage risk by 50% even when having alcohol as per the low-risk guidelines. This finding is specifically important in the Australian context since data show that two in three Australians are in the overweight or obesity range.
The key point that people can misinterpret in those guidelines is that they are called the low-risk guidelines. It’s a guideline for how to keep your risk low, not how to keep your risk zero,” said Professor Simone Pettigrew, the study’s lead author, head of food policy at The George Institute for Global Health, as per The News Daily.
Zero is the only way to have zero risk of alcohol-related harm. Again, a very inconvenient message.”Simone Pettigrew, study lead author, head of food policy, The George Institute for Global Health
The News Daily: “The ‘inconvenient truth’ about alcohol that could help people quit drinking“
Medical Xpress: “Cancer a compelling reason to cut alcohol, and drink counting helps“