The World Health Organization (WHO) has published its 2011 Global status report on alcohol and health. Among the notable conclusions of this report is the figure of 2.5 million annual lives that are lost to alcohol abuse worldwide. Further noteworthy news from the report is that alcohol abuse is growing at alarming rates and consumption has increased drastically in both Asia and Africa. This, according to the WHO, is partly due to the fact that developing countries have less powerful regulations. Therefore the WHO calls for more effective measures, including stronger restrictions on alcohol marketing.  One of the chapters of the report focuses on alcohol advertising and marketing. This chapter says the most commonly used way to control alcohol advertising and marketing is not statutory rules but self-regulation or co-regulation. However, of all the WHO member states 41% reported to have no regulations, against 30% having either a full or partial ban for one or more beverage types. Among the WHO member states that participated in the survey for this report, most restrictions were found in Eastern Mediterranean, Nordic and South Asian countries. A new trend, compared to earlier surveys in 2002 and 2008, shows that there was a statistically significant shift towards more restrictive measures. For example Belarus moved from a partial to a full ban on advertising for wine and spirits; Estonia shifted from a partial to a full ban on television of all beverages; and Kenya went from no restrictions to partial restrictions. The further development of restrictions was also seen through bans on product placement; restrictions of sports sponsorship; and restrictions on sales promotion in the form of sales below cost. However, the survey did not examine the enforcement of any of these restrictions. Click here, for the full Global status report on alcohol and health 2011. Source: Daily Health Report (02/12/11)
olympics-big Dutch brewer Heineken has been confirmed as the exclusive ‘lager supplier’ and sponsor of the 2012 Olympic Games in London.   As part of the deal, Heineken will be the branded lager served at the Olympic Games. Heineken UK will have exclusive pouring rights for its portfolio of beer and cider brands at all Olympic venues where alcohol is served. The deal is rumored to be worth around £10m, which brings the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games closer to its target of raising £2bn from sponsorship. According to Alexis Nasard, the chief commercial officer of Heineken the agreement offers a ‘wonderful platform for the promotion of responsible drinking’. He went on to explain: ‘There are no bigger, global or more spectacular events than the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. We selected this opportunity as it fully reflects Heineken’s global brand position.’ Nasard also promises to utilize London 2012 to celebrate with the world in a way that ‘only Heineken can’. Three years ago the Organising Committee was in talks with Diageo - whose brands include Smirnoff, Guinness, Johnnie Walker and a host of others- to promote responsible drinking. This plan was dropped however, because it was feared that it would attract to much attention. It is troubling to see that in a nation, with as much alcohol related problems as the UK, and during an event that could very well invoke spectators to aspire a healthy lifestyle, the message to drink responsible is brought by a party who thrives commercially on people drinking as much as possible. Source: the Telegraph 02/07/11
British Ministers have unveiled plans for setting up minimum prices for alcohol in England and Wales. According to the ministers their plan will prohibit shops and bars from selling alcohol for less than the rate of duty plus VAT. They say that this will set a base price for the first time ever and accordingly reduce crime. Home Office Minister James Brokenshire went on BBC Radio 4 were he suggested that the new floor on alcohol prices would prevent approximately 7000 crimes a year, 2000 of them violent. He also remarked that the plans will target products associated with problem drinking. While Professor Ian Gilmore, of the Royal College of Physicians and chairman of the UK Health Alliance carefully lauded the news as a step in the right direction, he also uttered disappointment: “It's an extremely small step. It will have no impact whatsoever on the vast majority of cheap drinks sold in supermarkets". Moreover he went on to state that the proposals would have no effect at all on the health of the nation. Don Shenker, chief executive of Alcohol Concern of the British Medical Association urged ministers to look again at a minimum price per unit of alcohol. According to Shenker VAT is so low in the UK that this measure will not stop shops from selling very cheap alcohol and be within the law. Because of this the British Medical Association is calling for tougher actions. Although a 50 pence-per-unit minimum was backed by health campaigners, the plans of the Home Office are substantially lower, with a minimum price of around 21 pence per unit of beer and 28 pence per unit of spirits. Petra Meier, professor of public health at Sheffield University, said: ‘Around the 20 to 30p mark, the effect on alcohol-related harm is very modest.’ She predicts the new minimum prices to save about 21 deaths and about 2,400 hospitals admissions, “compared with say a 50p unit price, where you would save around 3,000 deaths and 39,000 hospital admissions.” For an overview of the new minimum prices click here. Source: the Mail Online 01/19/11