Helen Salisbury: Alcohol Excess – Time for New Measures?
Author Helen Salisbury explores the question “when industries make money from selling products that cause harm, can we expect them to contribute meaningfully to improving public health?”, following two articles published in the BMJ.
The author questions the the ubiquity of alcohol in our social culture – especially in the face of harmful effects alcohol is known to cause, including over 200 diseases and social, family and economic disruption.
The article discusses how availability affects consumption and normalizes alcohol while marginalizing people who choose alcohol free lifestyles. The author then discusses the effect of pricing on alcohol consumption. The Minimum Unit Pricing for example which is heavily debated as affecting consumers of lower socio-economic status most can be predicted to reduce health inequalities, precisely by reducing alcohol consumption in people of this group.
The author concludes by questioning “what’s stopping the UK government from making the same changes in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, as promised in 2012?”
From my desk in the surgery, it looks as though the government is prioritising the interests of the [alcohol] industry over my patients’ health,” wrote Helen Salisbury, author of the article as per BMJ.