Health activists urge fight alcohol harm

Health activists urge fight alcohol harm

Prof. T K Thomas

Healthy India Alliance working for prevention and control of Non Communicable Diseases [NCDs] urges the Government to take expeditious action against alcohol harm in India.

The Alliance, comprising over a dozen Indian non-profit organizations working in the field of cancer prevention, palliative care, tobacco and alcohol advocacy etc. and member organizations of IOGT International wants the government to focus on multi- sectoral alcohol policy action in India to tackle the heavy burden of alcohol harm.

The Alliance has highlighted a recent study by New Lancet, world’s leading independent general medical journal. According to the study, there is a 38% increase in alcohol use among Indians (from 2010 to 2017) – a deviation from the National Communicable Diseases [NCDs] target of a 10% reduction in alcohol consumption by 2025.

The Healthy India Alliance flagged key alcohol control measures that need urgent attention of the Government of India. They have sought a comprehensive ban on all forms of alcohol advertising, promotion and sponsorship, including surrogate advertising of non-alcoholic products and online promotions, particularly on social media and depiction in movies and online streaming content. Further, the Alliance demands a uniform minimum legal drinking age (25 years) to check drinking among adolescents and young adults, with a robust strategy to check age at Points of Sale and appropriate taxation across all forms of alcohol.

The Healthy India Alliance has also urged the government for stringent enforcement of drinking and driving laws and regulations; glamorization and social acceptability of alcohol need to be curbed through comprehensive and audience-specific health promotion campaigns in the media.