Does not compute

So, the latest booze scare:

Sir Richard Thompson, President of the Royal College of Physicians, said: “How many more people have to die from alcohol-related conditions, and how many more families devastated by the consequences before the Government takes the situation as seriously as it took the dangers of tobacco?

“We already know from the international evidence that the main ways to reduce alcohol consumption are to increase the price and reduce the availability of alcohol, yet the government continues to discuss implementing marginal measures while ignoring this evidence.

Hmm. So, that international evidence:

Deaths from liver disease have doubled in Britain in recent years while other countries such as France have seen “profound” falls thanks in part to “strict” rules on marketing drink, a strongly-worded article in The Lancet claims.

OK, France is one to copy then.

In France, “very strict regulation of alcohol marketing” and a market “saturated with cheap wine” led to the industry focusing on increasing quality, and so reducing deaths.

Oh. So what we actually want to do is flood the country with cheap cider so that manufacturers concentrate upon quality not quantity then.

You know, do as the French.

Which leads us to the question: Has Sir Richard Thompson actually read the report he is pontificating about?

8 comments on “Does not compute

  1. “All medical research is rubbish” is a better approximation to the truth than almost all medical research.

  2. I suspect they do not do “research” as normally understood, they load figures into a computer with a “model” and it spews out the answer they want. The high price regime seems to work well in Finland and Sweden…..or not!

  3. “increase the price and reduce the availability of alcohol” — if that principle was truly solid then prohibition of alcohol would have worked wonders.

  4. I have lived in France for ten years. There is no evident stricter regulation of alcohol here, compared to the UK.

    Alcohol is promoted on TV, in print media, via special offers in stores.

    Alcohol is at least 30% to 50% less expensive across the board than the UK.

    Wine is readily available for 75 cents per litre in wine shops and supermarkets, where it is available in 5 litre entertainers at that price.

    The average price of every day drinkable wines is between 2€ and 4€.

    The number of road accidents where the driver is above the permitted limit is significantly higher than in the UK.

    Alcohol is available all day in bars.

    Then this from the Grauniad

    Figures showed that 20% more French men die from cancer each year than British…

    According to figures collated from 1999, the most recent year for which statistics are available, France has a far larger number of deaths from mouth, lip, throat, liver and lung cancers than neighbouring countries: a clear indication of the disease’s roots in unhealthy lifestyles.

    “France’s poor position in terms of male cancer deaths can be explained largely by the high levels of deaths from lung cancer, throat and mouth cancers and liver cancer,” the report’s authors concluded. “

  5. “France has a far larger number of deaths from mouth, lip, throat, liver and lung cancers than neighbouring countries”: if we assume (but only for the sake of argument because it’s not particularly likely) that diagnosis of cause of death is essentially identical in France and its neighbours) you’d still need to exclude other possible causes of a difference in death rates by “mouth, lip, throat, liver and lung cancers”. Two possibilities stand out rather obviously.

  6. As we are now living longer than we ever have in our past then I must assume that we are also encountering the diseases of old age with increasing frequency.

  7. Pingback: We don’t need politicians or doctors telling us how to live our lives « Force-Field Analysis

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