Alcohol Industry accused of misleading the public about cancer risk
According to a study led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine with the Karolinska Institute, Sweden, "the alcohol industry, unlike the tobacco industry has tended not to deny the harms of alcohol. However through its provision of misleading information it can maintain what has been called 'the illusion of righteousness' in the eyes of policy makers, while negating any significant impact on alcohol consumption and profits."
The researchers analysed information relating to cancer on websites and documents of almost 30 alcohol industry organisations worldwide between September 2016 and December 2016. The researchers found that in just that short time 24 /26 websites showed a distortion of misrepresentation of the evidence about alcohol related cancer risk with breast and colorectal cancers the most common forms of misrepresentation.
The most common approach, the researchers believe, involves presenting the relationship between alcohol and cancer as complex with the implication that there is no consistent evidence of a link. Some in the alcohol industry have been accused of even denying there is a risk or claiming incorrectly there is no risk for light or moderate drinkers.
Mark Petticrew, Professor of Public Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, lead author of the study said "The weight of scientific evidence is clear, drinking alcohol increases the risk of some of the most common forms of cancer, including several common cancers. Public awareness of this risk is low and it has been argued that greater public awareness, particularly at the risk of breast cancer, poses a significant threat to the alcohol industry. Our analysis suggests that the major global producers may attempt to mitigate this by disseminating misleading information about cancer through their 'responsible drinking bodies'."
NOTE: Ethanol in alcohol metabolizes into acetaldehyde in our bodies converting alcohol into a toxic chemical. It causes cancer by damaging DNA and then stopping our cells from repairing this damage. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified acetaldehyde formed as a result of drinking alcohol carcinogenic along with alcohol itself.