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Why the Alcohol Health Alliance needs to revisit its facts

The Alcohol Health Alliance is calling for higher taxes on alcohol. It says:

13 children a day are hospitalised as a result of alcohol misuse

Alcoholic liver cirrhosis has increased by 95 per cent since 2000,

by 36

per cent over the past two years to 2006 and is still increasing

Overall alcohol-related deaths have increased by 18 per cent from 2002-2005

More people die from alcohol-related causes than from breast cancer, cervical cancer and MRSA combined

The "passive effects" of alcohol misuse are catastrophic - rape, sexual assault, domestic and other violence, drunk driving and street disorder . Alcohol affects thousands more innocent victims than passive smoking.

The Wine & Spirit Trade Association, the British Beer & Pub Association, the Gin & Vodka Association, the National Association of Cider Makers and the Scotch Whisky Association have responded

with an open letter. They ask:

If current policies are insufficient, why are the numbers of people drinking in excess of the daily unit guidelines falling?

If high taxes reduce harm, why does the UK, which has the second-highest alcohol tax rates in Europe, have worse drinking behaviours than low tax countries?

Why do the high tax countries of Europe have higher levels of binge drinking than the low tax countries?

If alcohol advertising encourages people to drink more, why has

consumption in the UK fallen for the past two years?

Rather than call for health warning labels, which

are ineffective at reaching those who drink excessively, what are doctors doing to encourage

moderate consumption, given those who drink moderately enjoy longer lives than those who drink excessively or don't drink at all?