Booze Companies Should Slap Warning Labels On Their Product ASAP
Alcohol is classified as a Group 1 carcinogen. Like tobacco it is known to cause cancer in humans. But the industry is silent about this.
This week the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction published updated guidelines on the safe consumption of alcohol. The short version is less is better.
These guidelines point to data of alcohol causing several types of cancer along with heart disease.
Tobacco companies were forced to put warning labels on their products. The alcohol industry, on the other hand, is quiet as could be on the subject.
If government intervention won’t force them to do something perhaps civil litigation could.
Canadian law has a nifty shortcut for proving harm when caused by someone else’s wrongdoing. The principle of ‘indivisible injury’. In short this basically means if you are harmed by someone else’s wrongful actions (for example selling you cancer juice without telling you about it) in some cases you don’t have to prove that the product is the sole cause of your disease, only that it meaningfully contributed to it. Having data from studies connecting the dots can help a plaintiff get over their burden of proof.
Informed consent is a good thing. People are allowed to make dangerous choices. People profiting from those choices need to warn consumers of the known dangers of their product. Decreased profits from sales where meaningful warnings are in place should not deter the industry from telling the public of known risks from their products. Its the right thing to do. If that’s not motivation enough civil litigation may fashion a remedy that can give the industry a rude awakening.
Below are the findings of the Canadian Centre of Substance Use and Addition on alcohols and cancer and heart disease.
Alcohol and Cancer
Cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada. However, the fact that alcohol is a carcinogen that
can cause at least seven types of cancer is often unknown or overlooked. The most recent
available data show that the use of alcohol causes nearly 7,000 cases of cancer deaths each year in
Canada, with most cases being breast or colon cancer, followed by cancers of the rectum, mouth
and throat, liver, esophagus and larynx. According to the Cancer Society of Canada, drinking less
alcohol is among the top 10 healthy habits to prevent cancer.
Alcohol and Heart Disease
Heart disease is the second leading cause of death in Canada and alcohol is not good for the heart.
For many years, the commonly held belief that drinking in moderation offered protection against
heart disease has been widely publicized. Research in the last decade is more nuanced with the
most recent and highest quality systematic reviews showing that drinking a little alcohol neither
decreases nor increases the risk of heart disease. At higher levels of use, alcohol is a risk factor
for most types of cardiovascular disease, including coronary artery disease and heart attacks, heart
failure, high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation and stroke.