Wednesday 22 June 2022

What lockdown tells us about alcohol policy

I have a new study out today with the IEA looking at the extraordinary social experiment of lockdown and what it tells us about alcohol policy.
According to contemporary 'public health' ideology, harmful drinking is the result of 'commercial determinants', especially advertising, affordability and availability. If you clamp down on those then alcohol consumption will decline, and if alcohol consumption declines then harmful drinking will decline because - as the influential epidemiologist Geoffrey Rose put it...
‘… from the average alcohol intake of a population one can predict precisely the number of heavy drinkers. It is therefore likely to follow that changes in average consumption will lead to corresponding changes in the prevalence of alcoholism and in alcohol-related health problems.’
In March 2020, the number of licensed premises open in the UK fell by two-thirds and spending on alcohol advertising fell by half. Alcohol also became slightly affordable. 

As a result there was a dramatic decline in consumption and a commensurate decline in alcohol-related harm, right? 

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