Today FARE released its 2018 Annual Alcohol Poll: Attitudes and behaviours. It is no surprise that members of the alcohol industry try to cast doubt over the findings, a tactic borrowed from their mates in the tobacco industry.
What have the industry said so far:
Fergus Taylor, Executive Director of Alcohol Beverages Australia rejected the poll’s findings and questioned its validity.
“The vast majority of Australians drink responsibly – because they know there are well-established health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption and they also know that at consistently high levels of drinking, there are increased risks of a small number of cancers and other diseases,” Mr Taylor said in a statement.
He said the industry went to great lengths to encourage responsible drinking.
The World Health Organization states that “Alcohol consumption is a causal factor in more than 200 disease and injury conditions.” FARE’s Poll demonstrates that the majority of Aussies (84%) believe they have a right to this information. The United Kingdom Chief Medical Officer has recently warned that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption.1
DrinkWise, the alcohol industry Social Aspect Public Relations Organisation (SAPRO) also joined in the Twitter conversation promoting the results from their own 2017 survey.
Despite overall consumption declining, there is still a significant proportion of the population consuming alcohol at levels that places them at risk of both short-term and long-term harm. The latest National Drug Strategy Household Survey also shows that despite under age consumption declining, 4.6 per cent of 16 to 17 year olds consuming more than 11 standard drinks at least monthly.2 This is a concern given the disproportionate harm experienced by young people when it comes to alcohol.
These are facts conveniently and deliberately ignored and overlooked by DrinkWise.
Looking at the consumption data reported in FARE’s Poll approximately 5.7 million Aussies (45%) are drinking alcohol to get drunk. When looking at this by age group, the majority of Aussies (73%) aged 18-24 years said they drink alcohol to get drunk. This clearly tells us there is still room for improvement!
Stay tuned for more…
1 Department of Health (2016). UK Chief Medical Officers’ Alcohol Guidelines Review, Summary of the proposed new guidelines. UK Government.
2 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2017). National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2016: detailed findings. Drug Statistics series no. 31. Cat. no. PHE 214. Canberra: AIHW.