AHA comment on launch of PHE/Drinkaware alcohol campaign

10 September 2018: Sir Ian Gilmore, chair of the AHA, comments on the launch of the joint PHE-Drinkaware alcohol campaign.

Comment from Prof Sir Ian Gilmore, Chair, Alcohol Health Alliance:

“While people have a right to know about the harms caused by alcohol, we have serious concerns about this campaign itself and the fact that it represents the beginning of a relationship between the alcohol industry and Public Health England.

“We strongly believe that the alcohol industry should not have a role in providing health information to the general public. The evidence tells us their campaigns are more likely to improve the reputation of global alcohol corporations than improve the health of the nation.

“The alcohol industry makes two-thirds of its revenue from people who drink at risky levels and the fact that it spends hundreds of millions in promoting its products every year, while it is investing just over £1m in this campaign, shows its true priorities. If it was serious about reducing alcohol harm it would put the low risk guidelines and health warning labels on its products and refrain from opposing measures such as minimum unit price which would be most effective in reducing alcohol harm. In promoting the so-called health benefits of its products and obstructing public policies designed to save lives it is behaving like the tobacco industry.

“It is our view that PHE is making a serious mistake in partnering with the alcohol industry. Instead, we urge them to work with the wider public health community and others in persuading the Government to take a more evidence-based approach to tackling alcohol harm.”