Benefits of alcohol

November 29th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Charley Mann at The Press reports:

Those who enjoy a glass or two should ignore the ”badly overstated” warnings about over the festive season, a University of Canterbury academic says.

The flurry of alcohol warnings ahead of Christmas were overstated and incorrect, said economics lecturer Dr . ”Nobody warns us about the warnings.”

“And there’s danger in that … since some of the warnings are either false or badly overstated.”

Indeed.

Crampton said health warnings on alcohol focused ”exclusively” on curbing the harm experienced by heavy drinkers but ignored the enjoyment for moderate drinkers. This risked doing more harm than good, Crampton said.

”It is hard to open the paper without finding dire warnings about alcohol’s costs to the country. But how often do we hear that drinkers earn more than non-drinkers?

“Or that light drinkers have lower mortality risk than non-drinkers? Or that light-to-moderate drinking predicts better ageing outcomes?

Fundamentally alcohol is very different to tobacco. Tobacco kills you, even in moderation. Almost everyone who smokes wants to give up smoking. Very few moderate or light drinkers want to give up alcohol.

Hence the focus should be on heavy or binge drinking, not on demonising alcohol overall.

Tags: ,

33 Responses to “Benefits of alcohol”

  1. Brad (75 comments) says:

    Yes I always try and get my health warnings from economists

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Longknives (4,753 comments) says:

    That’s great news! Down the Hatch….

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. James Stephenson (2,180 comments) says:

    Eric Crampton is consistently the best antidote to wowserism that this country has.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    Hence the focus should be on heavy or binge drinking, not on demonising alcohol overall.

    I’ll drink to that…. :D

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Harriet (4,972 comments) says:

    “….Tobacco kills you, even in moderation….”

    ‘Kills’? LOL!

    More like excessive smoking shortens your lifespan…..as the likes of heart attacks have more than JUST 1 contributing factor.Emphaysema is the same!

    ‘moderation?’………one a day won’t hurt you as most doctors announce to smokers these words “….if you can’t give up, then at least cut down!….”

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. wreck1080 (3,919 comments) says:

    And with the lowering of the drinking age to 18 binge drinking has exploded.

    At least if you believe various news stories (which I am dubious about as they print what people want to buy, not the truth).

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. Andrei (2,657 comments) says:

    You are pissing into the wind Harriet – neo Calvinist secularists have done such a number on tobacco that the average joe now believes that tobacco smoke is more deadly than plutonium in these enlightened times but scientifically illiterate times.

    Of course tobacco “control” is just a prototype for the extension of BIG GOVERNMENT control over everything we eat and drink – eventually the dreary bossy britches nannies will have achieved their life ambition and have us living on tofu and TVP,

    We wont live any longer but it will sure seem that way once they get there.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. Paul Walker (50 comments) says:

    wreck1080 (2,524) Says:
    November 29th, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    “And with the lowering of the drinking age to 18 binge drinking has exploded. ”

    Part of what Eric was talking about is the there hasn’t been an explosion in binge drinking.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. annie (539 comments) says:

    Brad (57) Says:
    November 29th, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Yes I always try and get my health warnings from economists

    +1

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,903 comments) says:

    “Almost everyone who smokes wants to give up smoking.”

    I call bullshit on that.

    Most smokers I know have no intention of giving up nor any desire to do so.

    Once you become a mature adult (older than fifty) you begin to see the wood for the trees. Leave the hysteria to the juveniles.

    In my own case i stopped smoking cigarettes twenty four years ago but today I enjoy a small cigar each evening with a few beers or a wine or three. The Cook has smoked ten ciggies per day for at least forty years and has no intention of giving up. Her mother was smoking twenty per day until a week before her death – at age 94.

    Neither of us has any symptom or hint thereof of any condition allegedly brought on by smoking.

    My mother was diagnosed with lung cancer at the age of fifty five – she’s never smoked in her life.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. Manolo (13,783 comments) says:

    Totalitarians and fuckwits of all colours trying to tell me how to live my life, get out.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. unpcnzcougar (52 comments) says:

    One of the things that annoys me is the persecution of smokers. Yet even alcohol in moderation changes your behaviour – for some people it is not for the better. Cigarettes may be slow suicide but they don’t alter your behaviour.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. lastmanstanding (1,297 comments) says:

    Even thou the French eats lots of red meat and lots of cheese they are generally a healthy lot. Scientists put it down to their drinking red wine in moderation and regularly.
    Now go and chew on that you health nazis.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. Bob R (1,376 comments) says:

    ***Hence the focus should be on heavy or binge drinking, not on demonising alcohol overall.***

    The focus should also be on pregnant women. It DISGUSTS ME seeing pregnant women in court being prosecuted for drink driving. Imagine the brain damage they are causing to the baby. Madness.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. thedavincimode (6,759 comments) says:

    Good news. So thirsty I’ve just poured no. 2. Superbly chilled.

    lastmanstanding

    The reason the froggies (and a lot of other Europeans for that matter) are so healthy is that they don’t do any work. They get there at 10.00am by which time they are ready to fuck off home for lunch.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. gump (1,649 comments) says:

    @unpcnzcougar

    If cigarettes don’t alter people’s behavior, why do smokers get so crabby when they’re unable to smoke?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. Colville (2,269 comments) says:

    This cabernet is certianly making me more attractive to the Missus :-)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. Hair Removal Specialist (80 comments) says:

    My ears bleed whenever I hear a report about a recent study done showing that [drinking/eating/smoking] [beer/wine/fatty foods/coffee/cigarettes/a certain type of fruit or vegetable] [a little bit/in moderation/a lot/excessively] [is good/is bad/tends to prolong your life/tends to shorten your life]. One study often contradicts the next study. It is then fashionable to quote the study that best fits your world view, showing that you are wise and that your actions are justified/smart due to the results of the study. The studies are in turn often cited by health nazis pontificating about what people should and should not do and as to how the government should regulate, including placing warning labels on certain products. The only issue is that warning labels are not a solution or fix for stupidity and in fact encourage people to dumb down their own behavior.

    People should be encouraged to have an enjoyable life free from inference and take responsibility for themselves – not rely on others.

    Time to go home and have a couple of “fresh german beer” as Hamnida would say.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. Manolo (13,783 comments) says:

    Always the case, Colville. Ah, Cabernet Sauvignon, the king of all red varietals.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. annie (539 comments) says:

    lastmanstanding (909) Says:
    November 29th, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Even thou the French eats lots of red meat and lots of cheese they are generally a healthy lot. Scientists put it down to their drinking red wine in moderation and regularly.
    Now go and chew on that you health nazis.

    It now appears that it’s the polyphenols in red wine, not the alcohol, that confer the benefits associated with red wine consumption.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. Scott1 (552 comments) says:

    Hair removal etc,
    Are you honestly hinting that scientists and the media should not tell us when they discover stuff might be killing us?
    Information can be misused by stupid people… but a complete lack of information means even the smart people can’t get it right…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. Steve (North Shore) (4,563 comments) says:

    I’m shaken, but not stirred

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. Right_Wing_Dad (62 comments) says:

    Although tobacco is different to alcohol, a similar argument can be made. There is nothing more pleasurable than sitting outside on a balmy summers evening, drinking single malt whisky and smoking a fine Central American cigar. And watch the boys’ gather round a cigar when lit after the dinner speeches at a mates wedding – something no doubt we’ve all experienced.

    Again, the warnings ignore the social benefits and joy that comes from consuming something the wowsers have decreed as bad.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. RF (1,399 comments) says:

    Nothing like a smooth single malt every evening. Maybe two on any day ending in Y.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. Hair Removal Specialist (80 comments) says:

    Scott1 : where does it say that in my post. All I said is that there are contradictory studies on the same topics which people use to advance their own views.

    Right wing dad: totally agree. No point being a dry balls for 80 odd years. Might as well live!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. Yvette (2,821 comments) says:

    As many labels mention the alcohol content in a variety of locations and often in a lightweight less than 12 pt typeface, I see no problem in standardising the information to two small squares one above the other, in a consistent place, say bottom right of the front or back label, with the alcohol percentage figure, at least 12pt type in the top one, and the number of standard drinks in the container in the other square. Simple.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. Hair Removal Specialist (80 comments) says:

    Yvette: how hard is it to find that info as it is now (without it being standardised)?: not very hard at all – maybe 20 – 30 seconds max. Next question: how many people actually care about that info?: very few. Most people who drink do it for the taste and/or effect. If you are the type of person worried whether your beer is 4% or 9% it is not hard to find.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. Yvette (2,821 comments) says:

    Hair Removal – Might be OK for you young whipper snappers with 20/20 vision, but it is bit of a piss off to get home and find what you’d expect to be 12% bubbly is 9 or 8.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. Hair Removal Specialist (80 comments) says:

    Yvette, agree that would be annoying but maybe you could take your glasses to the grog shop next time rather than expecting the entire industry to make things easy for you. If what you are asking for ever became law it should be called the “Sight Challenged and Lazy Alcohol Labelling Regulations 2012″ ;)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. the conservative (66 comments) says:

    I couldn’t agree more; there has been far too much propaganda about alcohol consumption in recent months; all this stuff about binge drinking and the dangers of it, etc., etc. The question we need to ask, however, is why has there been so much hype by the media—the arm of the left—on alcohol? The answer is simple; tax revenue is running out on tobacco, now they need a new source—period.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. Scott1 (552 comments) says:

    Hair removal,
    Well Im just saying htere are lots of people involved here. you have scientists doing research (sometimes with an agenda I admit but usually honest research) that results in then discovering somthing is a risk factor. then you have people who read that research and for the most part honestly – try to spread the knowledge that they think will allow you to improve your health.

    yes there are a lot of these people and a lot of information but it is very hard to see how you can tell any of them NOT to do what they are doing…

    maybe you would say there should not be a government agency that does this (or that they over spend) but even there there are for example scenarios where the government acts like a private insurer and effectively protects itself from cost by telling you how to protect yourself from injury.

    As to alcohol and cigarettes.. I dont think there is really much doubt that alcohol consumption beyound a certain point and cigarette consumption in general are dangerous to most people and you can use helth information and knowledge of yourself to asses that risk.

    If there are contradictory studies then they should be assumed to be just bad methodology (a lot of studies have bad methodology) or specific circumstances that are unlikely to be of any use to you – unless there turns out to be so many of then that the contradictory position becomes mainstream. As individuals we should not get confused by the many studies – what matters is the consensus.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. Ross_Bell (12 comments) says:

    For fairness and balance and all that, we’ve published a piece from Eric in our drug policy magazine:
    http://www.drugfoundation.org.nz/content/myths-and-moderate-drinking

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    As individuals we should not get confused by the many studies – what matters is the consensus.

    What you mean is, as a mob what matters is consensus.

    Humans are intelligent. People are stupid.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote