Professor Tony Blakely, Associate Professor Nick Wilson, Professor John Attia (University of Newcastle and Hunter Medical Research Institute, Australia)
Many observational studies suggest that moderate alcohol consumption reduces cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. The so-called J-shaped curve. We summarised the ‘state of play’ on this topic at PHE Blog in early 2014. In the last few weeks a large ‘Mendelian randomisation’ study (like a genetically determined RCT of alcohol consumption – a study design with much potential for identifying causal (as opposed to confounded) associations) has been published suggesting that any alcohol consumption increases CVD. If true, this means the overall health harm from alcohol consumption in our society is even higher than currently thought. If so it would make cost-effective interventions such as alcohol taxation even more justified.
Professor Tony Blakely, Professor Jennie Connor, Associate Professor Nick Wilson
As a strategy to reduce harm from alcohol, there is growing interest internationally around the setting of minimum prices on alcohol. In this blog we review a paper just published in the Lancet on this approach. We also consider the potential implications for New Zealand around combining minimum pricing with increases in alcohol excise tax.
Professor Jennie Connor, University of Otago, researches the public health impacts of alcohol policy in NZ
Assoc Prof Nick Wilson
Two new studies published today in the Lancet, highlight that mental and substance use disorders are the leading cause of non-fatal illness worldwide (Whiteford et al; Degenhardt et al). These two studies are a valuable contribution to knowledge about health problems and come from a massive international research project. The results should help guide policymakers around the world in taking the cost-effective steps needed to prevent and treat the high health burden from mental and substance use disorders.