Public discourse on the benefits of moderation: implications for alcohol policy development

Addiction. 1993 Apr;88(4):459-65. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.1993.tb02052.x.


There is increasingly widespread acceptance of a protective effect of alcohol against coronary heart disease and a consequent delay of mortality among the elderly. This information has been widely disseminated in the popular media and by industry related sectors. The policy arguments based on the epidemiological data are that moderate alcohol use is beneficial, therefore policy should not impact on moderate drinkers, only on heavy drinkers. This fits well with the arguments of those opposed to population public health measures such as taxation, controls on availability, and enforcement of drink-driving laws like random breath testing. However, there is a growing consensus among public health researchers that population measures are most effective at reducing alcohol-related harm. Concern has been expressed that the current public discourse on benefits of moderation will influence individuals to drink more. Of equal, or even greater, concern is the likelihood that this public discourse will decrease the chances that effective population focused policies will be implemented.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Alcohol Drinking / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Alcohol Drinking / prevention & control
  • Alcoholism / mortality
  • Alcoholism / prevention & control
  • Cause of Death
  • Child
  • Coronary Disease / mortality
  • Coronary Disease / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Health Policy / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Public Opinion*
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Analysis
  • Survival Rate