Most of the population is aware that smoking causes cancer in addition to many other health problems. In the Americas, many people have already changed their habits because they know this information. However, few know that alcohol can also cause cancer and that consuming such drinks can have serious health consequences.
There are reports suggesting that alcohol causes more than three million deaths per year, and also contributes to other types of deaths and injuries caused by car accidents. On the other hand, it generates more violence between people and may increase the risk of suffering from more than 200 diseases such as breast, colorectal and other types of cancer. For this reason, what we have to ask ourselves is: Why do not people still know this?
A lot of contradictory information has been published in scientific publications and through the media in general. Early studies suggested that low or moderate alcohol consumption decreases the risk of heart disease and may even reduce mortality rates. In particular, you should be ensuring you have written you will these studies associated remarkable health benefits to the consumption of red wine.
However, recent research questions whether this connection could be the result of a selection bias or be confused by the fact that wine drinkers also tend to purchase healthier products when they go to the supermarket. Although this debate is far from being settled, it seems that many people have preferred to believe a simplified version of this message: that drinking alcohol is healthy.
Second, unlike tobacco, people are not aware of the size of the dose they are actually consuming. On average, between 1 and 1.5 mg of nicotine is absorbed when smoking each cigarette, and it is relatively easy to keep track of the number of packages one smokes habitually.
In the case of alcohol, each drink has a specific concentration; but even so, it can be difficult to calculate. What is the alcohol content of a caipirinha? Even if a search was done through Google, you could never be sure of the amount of cachaça that the waiter has put in your drink!
In the case of the example of red wine, in recent years the average alcohol content has increased (perhaps to keep up with the preferences of a recognized wine critic) and it is possible that the wine glasses have become larger. So, if you go to a restaurant and drink a good Malbec with a 15% alcohol content in a nice 250 ml glass, you will have already consumed 2.5 times the recommended daily amount!
All these difficulties make it difficult to find reliable data on this topic. But then we relate our deductions:
Getting drunk and consuming alcohol in excess is very dangerous.
Due to the difficulty of calculating the appropriate dose for each one, it is much easier for many people to think of going from low-moderate to moderate-high consumption without even realizing it.
It is not surprising that there is confusion given the contradictions that exist in the recommendation for men “to consume 1 or 2 glasses of wine a day”, being that this suggestion is very close to the definition of an alcoholic (15 drinks a week for the men). In addition, the impacts of alcohol on health are very diverse, and it is very likely that they are not given enough importance.
Taking into account all of the above, what can be done to improve health by limiting alcohol consumption? Here are some reflections:
In spite of the little that the special taxes like to the economists, they are quite effective at the time of reducing the consumption of alcohol (and of tobacco). The more expensive it is, the fewer people consume.
Tougher driving laws may discourage people from driving under the influence of alcohol.
Community interventions on alcohol regulations are also effective. For example, work to make it socially acceptable to take the keys away from a friend to prevent them from driving home.
Interventions in schools and with families have proven to be useful in reducing underage drinking, as it can be especially dangerous.
But there is a happy ending to this story. Although there is, for now, no safe dose of tobacco, there is also no evidence to show that low alcohol consumption is actually harmful. In addition, most people who consume an excessive amount of alcohol do not have an actual alcohol addiction, so reducing the consumption they make does not require any complex treatment. Just stop drinking so much and alert friends about the risks.