VIDEO: Dry January pt 5 – sobering thoughts about the alcohol industry

WHEN I see a tulip shaped glass swollen with a buttery golden nectar that’s Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio or, my personal favourite tipple, Sauvignon Blanc, I don’t think cancer.

Or stroke, heart disease and damage to my liver, brain and nervous system.

As wine is so cheap and readily available I still struggle to join up the dots and believe that I’m basically sipping poison, no matter how sophisticated I think it is.

I associate the flip side of a good scoop with hangovers, bags under my eyes and sallow skin – the things I can see rather then those that I can’t. But it’s those hidden, more sinister effects that I should be worried about because paracetamol and heavy make-up can’t cure cancer.

I remember when I started in journalism, newsrooms were thick with cigarette smoke and you could puff away on trains and in pubs. There’s been a huge shift in attitudes towards smoking over the past decade largely due to the Government taking a heavy handed approach by banning it in public areas and, most recently, in vehicles carrying children.

Is it now time to take the same approach with alcohol? A report published a few years ago in the medical journal, Lancet, said that alcohol was the most dangerous drug in the UK by a considerable margin, beating heroin and crack cocaine into second and third place.

Balance, the North-East Alcohol Office is calling for compulsory health warning labels on bottles and cans as well as advertising to give drinkers an informed choice which you can read here:

Are shock tactics needed? Would a poster of a foetus in a glass make you think twice if you were pregnant or would seeing a young man dying or cirrhosis be the wake-up call you need? A hard-hitting advert about a mum who drank at home because she had no social life would definitely make me think twice.

Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, said: “Industry self-regulation doesn’t work – the Government needs to introduce compulsory health warning labels on alcohol products and alcohol advertising and to adequately fund mass media campaigns which make it clear the risks people face and enable them to make informed choices.

“We know the majority of North Easterners back the introduction of health warning labels as standard on alcohol products.”

He added: “Around four in 10 North Easterners are drinking at risky levels, but worryingly, awareness of the associated risks to health is still very low.

“People have a right to know that alcohol is in the same cancer causing class as tobacco and the health risks increase even at low levels of consumption. Only by being aware can people make informed choices about how much alcohol they choose to drink.”

Missed any of my Dry January blogs and vlogs? Catch up on them all here:

Part 1: 

Part 2:

Part 3: 

Part 4: 

My story has also featured in The Sun’s Fabulous magazine this week which you can read it here.

Only one week left of my month of Dry January abstinence. I’m calmer, feeling chirpy, more productive and look better. It would be stupid to throw that away in Feb so moderation is my new mantra.

So if it is last orders for industry self regulation, public pressure is essential. Maybe one day binge drinking will be as antisocial as chain-smoking. You can help stub out that bad habit too.









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