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France: the alcohol industry lobby against public health

Published earlier this year by Alcoologie et Addictologie, an article written by Basset and Rigaud (2016) discusses how the lobby of the alcohol industry in France is constantly attacking public health.

The authors are associated with ANPAA, Eurocare’s French member, and they explain that while alcohol is the second cause of avoidable death, the alcohol lobby, one of the strongest in France, has been working for a long time on a commercial strategy based on models also adopted by the tobacco industry.

The authors resume the lobby strategy as follows: independent information about the links between alcohol consumption and their consequences for health and society are barriers to the development of the economic sector, and such information should not be made public.

Building a social norm of alcohol consumption for the young, while claiming to protect their well-being, the authors argue, the lobbyists know perfectly well the harmful impact of their products on health. There are 49,000 deaths in France per year associated with alcohol, the authors explain, and still commercial policies often avoid mentioning effects like this. Instead, the alcohol industry has been delivering its own discredited health intervention programmes, the authors claim.

The authors conclude the article by calling public-health professionals to expose the alcohol industry’s methods in a comprehensible manner to the general public.

Basset B, Rigaud A. (2016) Le lobby de l'alcool contre la santé. Alcoologie et Addictologie. 2016 ; 38 (1) : 7-20