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What the alcohol survey actually shows


A survey of drinking habits in the UK has revealed that people under-estimate and under-report the amount of alcohol they consume.  The actual figures for consumption could be almost twice what previously published figures have suggested, with most drinkers regularly exceeding the maximum weekly intake recommended by doctors. Of course the medical anti-alcohol lobby has leapt onto the figures, claiming they back up its case for minimum pricing.

“Doctors said the study, published in the European Journal of Public Health, was further evidence that the Government needed to hold its nerve and set the minimum price for alcohol at 50p per unit.”

Sir Richard Thompson, president of the Royal College of Physicians, said this “is yet more evidence of the need for strong government action, including a minimum unit price for alcohol.”

But is it? Tim Worstall, rapidly approaching the status of a National Treasure, thinks not.  His case is that we know how much health damage is caused by excessive drinking.  We have the NHS statistics for procedures, hospital admissions, treatments and deaths.  If the new survey is correct, it will mean this health damage has been caused by twice as much alcohol as we had originally supposed.

“We are getting the same amount of damage from a greater amount of alcohol consumption. Therefore alcohol is less dangerous than we thought it was before.”

Nicely put, Tim. If all of those health statistics they trumpeted resulted from a great deal more alcohol than we had supposed, that does indeed show it to be not as harmful as we had previously thought.


One Response

  1. Very clever and funny too! I sometimes think that the old Temperance Movement has just rented a labcoat.

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