Today, the Guardian reports that 'Alcohol marketing in TV football should be restricted, say scientists'. The [cough] scientists in question sat around watching football matches for 18 hours and counted how many times they heard or saw a reference to alcohol. There were obviously quite a lot, especially in the Carling Cup and Budweiser FA Cup. Needless to say, the conclusion is that the temperance lobby should continue following the anti-smoking blueprint and start banning this kind of sponsorship.
“We believe a similar restriction to that imposed on tobacco products may be justified.”
So far, so predictable. I mention it only for something that appears in the press release for the study, but didn't make it into the Guardian article.
Dr Jean Adams, senior lecturer in public health at Newcastle University and a member of Fuse, the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health, said: “Alcohol–related hospital admission are continuing to rise, despite alcohol consumption falling overall because the heaviest drinkers are consuming more."
And so, the belief that is fundamental to all neo-temperance policies and is fundamental to the Sheffield minimum pricing model*—that reducing per capita consumption reduces heavy drinking and harm—has been shown to be baloney.
Time for a rethink?
* [UPDATE: John Holmes from the Sheffield Uni team has said on Twitter that they based their estimates on subgroups, not mean consumption. Wild horses wouldn't get me to trudge through the Sheffield study again so I will take his word for it for the time being.]