Exploring the influence of the alcohol industry on national policy


The European Centre for Monitoring Alcohol Marketing (EUCAM) released a 16-page report earlier this year that analyzes the lobbying tactics of the alcohol industry in several European countries.

For politicians and health experts it is important that they reveal to the public the subversive messaging of the alcohol industry and do not fall prey to the industry’s half-truths—or worse—out right lies. It is essential that experts have the best possible information about the harmful effects of alcohol consumption. The alcohol industry tries to prevent the information about the harmful consequences of consumption from becoming public by purposefully ignoring or denying the important and harmful effects of drinking. The result is that too often a highly glamorized and positive image is protracted to consumers in many societies. (p.3)

 The seven messages of the industry that are examined through examples from various countries are:

  1. Consuming alcohol is normal, common, healthy and very responsible.
  2. The damage done by alcohol is caused by a small group of deviants who cannot handle alcohol.
  3. Normal adult non-drinkers do not, in fact, exist.
  4. Ignore the fact that alcohol is a harmful and addictive chemical substance (ethanol) for the body.
  5. Alcohol problems can only be solved when all parties work together.
  6. Alcohol marketing is not harmful. It is simply intended to assist the consumer in selecting a certain product or brand.
  7. Education about responsible use is the best method to protect society from alcohol problems.

The report can downloaded from the EUCAM web site. For more on the alcohol industry in Europe, see an earlier post A Glimpse Inside the UK Alcohol Marketing Industry (March 14, 2011).