Drinks Companies Use ‘Denial, Distortion, And Distraction’ Tactics To Downplay Alcohol’s Link To Cancer

A study has found that the booze companies are using tactics similar to those of the tobacco industry

Drinks Companies Use 'Denial, Distortion, And Distraction' Tactics To Downplay Alcohol's Link To Cancer

by Anna Codrea-Rado |
Published on

The drinks industry is downplaying the link between alcohol and cancer, particularly breast cancer, by using 'denial, distortion, distraction' tactics similar to those used by the tobacco industry, according to a new report.

Drinks companies are implying that there is no concrete evidence that alcohol can cause cancer and are confusing consumers by presenting the relationship between the two as highly complex, scientists at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet found.

Mark Petticrew, Professor of Public Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and 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. Our analysis suggests that the major global alcohol producers may attempt to mitigate this by disseminating misleading information about cancer through their “responsible drinking” bodies.’

The study also found that other common tactics used by booze companies is to deny that any relationship exists or to inaccurately claim that there is no risk to ‘moderate’ drinkers. Scientists are especially concerned that these tactics are being employed in relation to breast cancer, which is one of the most common and lethal forms of cancer.

In the last decade there have been more than 100 studies that show a clear link between breast cancer and drinking. Much of this research not only found evidence that alcohol raises the risk of breast cancer, but does so even in cases of moderate amounts of consumption.

The authors of the study suggested that the drinks industry is attempting to distract from these findings by pointing to other factors such as age, gender and family history as possible causes. They said they might be doing so in the hopes that the public will not fully understand alcohol’s link with the disease.

The International Alliance for Responsible Drinking, which represents Anheuser-Busch InBev and Diageo, told Reuters it disagreed with the study’s conclusions.

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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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