Lords debate alcohol industry’s role in the government’s alcohol strategy

Alcohol education got a bit of a kicking in the debate held in the House of Lords on the alcohol industry’s role in the government’s alcohol strategy.  Baroness Coussins, a crossbench peer argued:

the traditional health education approach alone has failed.

Lord Clement-Jones, a Liberal Democrat, said:

Some say that social responsibility initiatives and education are not enough. They are probably right on this…

Baroness Findlay, another crossbench peer, argued:

We hear a lot about education strategies; I am afraid that the evidence that those have actually altered behaviour is very weak, although there is certainly evidence that they have increased awareness.

And Lord Shipley, a Lib Dem, made a similar point:

Industry bodies such as the Portman Group and Drinkaware promote education, but the evidence says that on its own, education does not change behaviour. In fact the World Health Organisation document, Alcohol in the European Union states:

“There is evidence that social responsibility messages … benefit the reputation of the sponsor more than they do public health.”

You might remember that we dealt with that same WHO document here, pointing out how different its interpretation of evidence is from the evidence quoted by the same organisation in its Health Behaviour in School Aged Children document.

More importantly not one of the contributors, including the Minister, spoke up for the use of education to prevent misuse, despite the increasing secure evidence for effectively doing so.

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