Feature Alcohol and Public Health

Commentary: David Cameron and the death of responsibility for alcohol policy

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g49 (Published 08 January 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g49
  1. Peter Anderson, professor12
  1. 1Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University, England
  2. 2Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, Netherlands
  1. peteranderson.mail{at}gmail.com

The BMJ series Under the Influence reminds us that we need to be very suspicious of UK polices on alcohol, writes Peter Anderson

Governments, companies, and individuals are all responsible for health, and we all have a role in reducing the harm done by alcohol, including the estimated 12 000 preventable alcohol related deaths that occur in England each year among those aged less than 75 years.1 However, because alcohol fools our brains into wanting to drink more beyond our conscious control despite the negative consequences,2 and because our drinking behaviour is highly influenced by our social networks, information and skills on their own are insufficient to empower individuals to change.2 3 What are needed instead are changes in the environment to help healthier choices become easier choices.4 The biggest influencers on the environment are governments and producer and retail companies: governments through the policies they enact or fail to enact to regulate the environment in which alcohol is sold and companies through the products they make, market, and sell. Gornall’s investigation shows that the English government has failed in its …

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