One popular refrain for the drinks industry is that in moderation, alcohol can improve health....But youre unlikely to have heard industry representatives explaining that the beneficial effects of moderate drinking are limited to a relatively small proportion of the population. Many of the rest of us, lulled into thinking that our social consumption of alcohol is good for us, are literally drinking ourselves to death (Some Sobering..., p. 587).
Helen Pearson laid bare the truth regarding beverage alcohol when she asserted:
Alcohol and tobacco are the terrible twins of public health. Both increase the risk of cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Both are promoted aggressively by a powerful industry. And both can be horribly addictive (2004, 428:598).
The truth, as Ms. Pearson admitted, is that: According to a new report from the World Health Organization (WHO), the harm caused by alcohol nearly equals that from smoking (p. 598, emp. added).
The powerful alcohol industry has been so successful at selling the beneficial message that many assumed alcohol not only was acceptable, but also improved health. Plenty of people use this message [drinking in moderation] as an excuse to drink more alcohol, argues Ira Goldberg, professor of preventive medicine at Columbia University in New York (Pearson, p. 599). Maybe now some of the medias disproportionate attention will focus on the harmful effects of alcohol.
Pearson, Helen (2004), The Demon Drink, Nature, 428:598-600, April 8.
Some Sobering Thoughts (2004), Nature, 428:587, April 8.
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