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Wednesday, 12 August 2009

More warnings over health risks linked to alcohol

Health warnings in the news again concerning alcohol, but this is one that is perhaps not so well known. How many of us actually realised that drink could be linked to oral cancers? Cigarettes - definitely. But alcohol? It’s usually liver disease that is seen as being the number one health problem associated with alcohol, so could that soon be superceded?

It seems this is yet another reason for why drink should be consumed in moderation and to not accept the “binge drinking” culture that is so much the norm in the UK. This report from Cancer Research UK highlights that about three-quarters of oral cancers are thought to be caused by drinking alcohol and smoking.

The BMA has often outlined how doctors witness the devastation of alcohol on patients and the crippling effect it has on the NHS. So what price could we all soon be paying for the treatment of this huge increase in conditions like mouth cancer?

Just last month we repeated our calls at the BMA’s annual conference to have a minimum price for a unit of alcohol introduced by the UK government, partly because of the increased burden of alcohol-related diseases and complications on our nation’s health.

All the following points were agreed upon by members in July.


ii) believe that a minimum pricing strategy would not unduly disadvantage responsible alcohol consumers;
iii) call for all alcoholic beverages to have clearer labelling indicating alcoholic content and unit value;
iv) call on the BMA to lobby government for a total ban on alcohol advertising in the media;
v) demand that revenue obtained from increased prices should be used for the prevention of alcohol misuse and the rehabilitation of alcohol abusers.

And reports like this one today just add more ammunition to our fight.

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