Wednesday 11 September 2013

Total Consumption Model fails again

Last week I mentioned that the Australians have finally admitted that the Total Consumption Model—which says, to put it simply, that heavy drinking falls in line with per capita consumption—is not supported by real world evidence.

Today, the Guardian reports that 'Alcohol marketing in TV football should be restricted, say scientists'. The [cough] scientists in question sat around watching football matches for 18 hours and counted how many times they heard or saw a reference to alcohol. There were obviously quite a lot, especially in the Carling Cup and Budweiser FA Cup. Needless to say, the conclusion is that the temperance lobby should continue following the anti-smoking blueprint and start banning this kind of sponsorship.

“We believe a similar restriction to that imposed on tobacco products may be justified.”

So far, so predictable. I mention it only for something that appears in the press release for the study, but didn't make it into the Guardian article.

Dr Jean Adams, senior lecturer in public health at Newcastle University and a member of Fuse, the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health, said: “Alcohol–related hospital admission are continuing to rise, despite alcohol consumption falling overall because the heaviest drinkers are consuming more."

And so, the belief that is fundamental to all neo-temperance policies and is fundamental to the Sheffield minimum pricing model*—that reducing per capita consumption reduces heavy drinking and harm—has been shown to be baloney.

Once again.

Time for a rethink?

* [UPDATE: John Holmes from the Sheffield Uni team has said on Twitter that they based their estimates on subgroups, not mean consumption. Wild horses wouldn't get me to trudge through the Sheffield study again so I will take his word for it for the time being.]

1 comment:

nisakiman said...

Presumably these 'references' are every time one of the commentators says "Carling Cup" or when the camera pans across one of the hoardings.

Does anyone seriously think this is a big influence on drinking patterns? I suppose it raises the profile of the brand, so a football aficionado going into the pub, and faced with an array of lagers might choose Carling over another brand due to the subliminal brand reinforcement, but even that is debatable.

I would imagine that the vast majority of people will simply filter out all those references to 'Carling' and just watch the match.

I'm damn sure it will have absolutely no impact whatsoever on consumption rates. The eight-pints-a-night lager drinker will continue to drink his eight pints, no more, no less, regardless. Carling, if they're lucky, will get him to drink eight pints of their product rather than a rival's.

“We believe a similar restriction to that imposed on tobacco products may be justified.”

No, it's not justified at all. Hogwash, all of it.

The oft quoted "Will No One Rid Me of This Meddlesome Priest?" was never more pertinent.