Alcohol Use Disorders (89) Alcohol industry and misinformation (6)

25 February, 2024

Dear all,

After reading Neil's message, my very first reaction was indignation.

I even maintained that feeling after taking the Drinkaware test where I was supposed to be a consumer 4 or more times a week and 3 or 4 units of alcohol in a typical day. Marking "never" in the rest of the questions.

Because the final result, even though I could have consumed between 12 and 28 units in the week, it gave me a Lower Risk of alcohol-related problems.

But when I performed the AUDIT score, marking similar options, it gave me a result of 5 points, which implies a low risk, as the Drinkaware result.

Reflecting on the result I think that:

- I must emphasize that my answer was "fictitious", and although the number of weekly units of alcohol per week may exceed 14, and this in itself is "risky consumption",

- It is very likely that a person who "regularly" drinks 3 or 4 units of alcohol per day will not mark "never" in the rest of the questions. There is a good chance that a person with such a level of alcohol consumption may consume more units on some days, and therefore, must respond positively to one of the other answers that increase the score. This would easily make him reach 8, placing him in a higher risk situation.

The AUDIT score, which is the basis of Drinkaware, not only evaluates the amount consumed, but also other elements that together constitute the alcohol use disorder.

Therefore, there appears to be no significant difference between the results of Drinkaware and Audit.

However, it strikes me that "the UK's leading alcohol charity" acknowledges that it "works with the alcohol industry", when there is an inherent conflict of interest between the alcohol industry (whose primary interest is to increase sales and consumption) and that of public health (whose main interest is to reduce the damage caused by alcohol, and to do so they must necessarily reduce both consumption and sales)

What do other colleagues think about this?

Kind regards,


HIFA profile: Eduardo Bianco is a medical doctor and Cardiologist, Certified Tobacco Cessation Expert with a Masters in Prevention and Treatment of Addictive Disorders. Currently, he is Chair of the World Heart Federation Tobacco Expert Group. Dr. Biancos research examines tobacco control and cessation, and he is a prominent member of several organizations that address tobacco control in Latin America. Dr. Bianco has worked for 25 years in Uruguay and Latin America to promote and train in smoking cessation treatment and tobacco control policies. He is also the former Regional Coordinator for the Americas of the Framework Convention Alliance and former Technical Director of the MOH Center for International Cooperation for Tobacco.