However, new research claims that the supposed health benefits of alcohol can be gained from drinking a mere three units a week, and if this became the official consumption guideline for “safe drinking” it could save 4,500 lives a year.
It has never struck me that the argument that alcohol has health benefits is the best one to use in its defence – surely people should be drinking because they enjoy it (and know that, unless done consistently to excess, it isn’t really harmful), not forcing it down like tablets.
And, if this becomes the official message, it will remove the figleaf from those who claim that responsible drinking is compatible with a “healthy lifestyle”. If you accept this definition, it certainly isn’t. A pint and a half a week? That’s hardly worth bothering with, and certainly wouldn’t keep many pubs open.
The brewers, winemakers and distillers, and the likes of CAMRA, will be left standing exactly where the tobacco industry are today.