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Advocacy: Action on alcohol

Posted by Melissa: October 2012 

When it comes to the health-related harms of alcohol there are many things that may spring to mind.

A hangover is probably the first. 

However ongoing research is showing that a pounding headache, common after a big night on the turps, is the least of your concerns when it comes to harming your health.

This research is continuing to show that alcohol causes cancer – breast cancer (in women), cancers of the mouth, larynx, pharynx, oesophagus, liver and bowel in men and women.

That's why the Alcohol Policy Coalition, which Cancer Council Victoria is a member of, is now lobbying all levels of government in Australia for policies and legislation that lower the risks Australians face when they drink.

There are four facts about alcohol and cancer that the Alcohol Policy Coalition hopes Victorians will start to take more notice of:

  1. Alcohol is a cause of cancer.
  2. No level of alcohol consumption is completely risk free.
  3. The more you drink, the more your risk of cancer increases.
  4. Mixing your alcohol consumption with smoking hugely inflates your risk of cancer.

The Alcohol Policy Coalition wants to see a consistent tax on wine – wine is taxed according to its value (an arrangement that was agreed to offset the initial impacts of GST in 2000) rather than its alcohol content, like the tax on beer and spirits.

They are also calling on the Federal Government to tighten legislation on alcohol advertising. Currently alcohol companies can advertise during live sports programs – even if they are broadcast at times children are watching TV.

The Alcohol Policy Coalition are also calling for earlier closing times of alcohol outlets and a greater say for local communities in liquor licensing decisions. Victoria has a record number of outlets and research shows that increases in availability are linked to increases in alcohol problems in the community.

Both Cancer Council Victoria and the Alcohol Policy Coalition are part of the National Alliance for Action on Alcohol which consists of more than 70 health and community organisations from across Australia.

And if you enjoy a tipple, remember the guidelines for low risk drinking for both men and women – no more than two standard drinks per day.

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