13 June 2023 News

Eurocare issues misleading content warning

The European Alcohol Policy Alliance (Eurocare) today issued a health warning about potentially misleading alcohol industry sponsored content on the Politico web site.

Few readers are likely to realise that the innocently named sponsor, the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD), represents large international alcohol business interests.

Knowing this is vital to understanding why it paid for space to undermine the clear World Health Organisation public health message that there is no safe level of alcohol.

IARD’s goal is to maximise alcohol sales for the commercial operators which fund it, a goal running directly contrary to supplying reliable public health information. 

Two people die every minute from alcohol in Europe. This enormous toll is the result of the region’s uniquely high level of alcohol drinking. Many of the dead are not heavy drinkers. 

Few realise that cancer risk rises directly in line with alcohol consumed, with the risk of breast cancer still significantly higher for people who drink less than one alcoholic drink a day. 

Half of all alcohol-attributable cancers in the WHO’s European Region are caused by “light” and “moderate” alcohol drinking and more than half of them in the case of breast cancer. 

This is why civil society dedicated to protecting citizens from alcohol harm, together with the WHO, are right to say there is “no safe level” of alcohol and that “less is better”. 

We are very concerned the EU’s proposal on alcohol labelling is already six months overdue, with the growing threat of being delayed beyond the end of the current mandate.  

European citizens have a right to know clear, health-focussed messages from reliable sources of health advice to better inform their choices. 

The EU must not miss this opportunity. Media also has a role to play in ensuring the discussion around it is properly informed.