The "Star Letter" in January's edition of the CAMRA newspaper What's Brewing comes from one Peter Edwardson of Stockport, and reads as follows:
Pete Black (What's Brewing, December) is very wide of the mark when he says "it seems extremely unlikely that there are any dangers of abstaining completely from alcohol".Sounds like a sensible and well-informed chap. I'll buy him a pint if our paths ever cross...
In fact, there is an overwhelming weight of research evidence indicating that, even excluding those who have had to give up alcohol for specific health reasons, moderate drinkers have a lower mortality rate than total abstainers.
To give just one example, in 2006, the Archives of Internal Medicine, an American Medical Association journal, published an analysis based on 34 well-designed prospective studies and incorporating a million individual subjects, which found that "one to two drinks per day for women and two to four drinks per day for men are inversely associated with total mortality."
What is more, these benefits persist to some extent even if people drink significantly more than the offical guidelines, which in effect represent the bottom point of the risk curve.
While obviously it has to tread carefully, there is plenty of opportunity for CAMRA to take a more robust line in countering the misinformation of the anti-drink lobby.