Measuring the prevention of harm due to minimum alcohol pricingBMJ 2018; 360 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k130 (Published 12 January 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k130
All rapid responses
Caan’s pledge for starting appropriate baseline measures to monitor the effects of introducing a minimum price for alcohol deserves robust comment.(1)
First, although minimum unit pricing (MUP) of alcohol is among the main measures for alcohol control, is not a panacea. Public policies must be not only stringent but also comprehensive to be effective, eg. including advertising bans, appropriate health warnings…
Second, although I try to avoid use surrogates, in this case, considering that the UK, as France, is one of the barrels among rich countries, monitoring sales will be enough for long.
Third, assuming “the implementation of any new alcohol legislation will take about two years”(1) is overoptimistic.
Last, the claim “(MUP will not) disrupted licensed sales from rural pubs that can have a social role in the community” is puzzling.(1) Social role of pubs is not evidence based and this coincides with a recent flawed publication promoting older people's drinking as a “unique” way to “facilitative of socialising, friendship and bonding”.(2) As a skeptic I do not believe in coincidence. Will the social role of alcohol allow whitewashing alcohol as the flawed French paradox cannot be used any longer?(3)
Alcohol, a dose related carcinogen beginning at the 1-2 drink/day level, alters almost all functions (cardiovascular, neurologic, psychologic …). Among the most common symptoms with hypertension are depression, anxiety disorders and cognitive decline.(4) Last, alcohol is the first avoidable cause of domestic violence.
They are other ways to socialize than meeting a doctor for neuro-psychological problems or beating up one's wife and children.
'Lord, protect me from my friends; I can take care of my enemies.' Voltaire
1 Caan W. Measuring the prevention of harm due to minimum alcohol pricing BMJ 2018;360:k130
2 Nicholson D, McCormack F, Seaman P, Bell K, Duffy T, Gilhooly M. Alcohol and healthy ageing: a challenge for alcohol policy. Public Health 2017;148:13-18.
3 Holmes MV, Dale CE, Zuccolo L et al. Association between alcohol and cardiovascular disease: Mendelian randomisation analysis based on individual participant data. BMJ 2014;349:g4164.
4 Topiwala A, Allan CL, Valkanova V et al. Moderate alcohol consumption as risk factor for adverse brain outcomes and cognitive decline: longitudinal cohort study. BMJ 2017;357:j2353.
Competing interests: No competing interests