Can the alcohol industry genuinely care about the health of its customers when its primary business objective is to gain revenue from one of the most harmful substances and when most profits are made off of people with drinking problems?
There is blatant hypocrisy when the alcohol industry invests in public health. The goals of public health initiatives are to promote healthy behaviors and prevent disease in communities. In contrast, the goals of the alcohol industry are to maximize its consumer base, sales, and profits by recruiting new customers and maintaining existing customers, particularly those who drink regularly and heavily. Historically, the alcohol industry has funded educational/training programs and promotional and advertising campaigns that promote “safe” levels of drinking. Although the purported goal of these initiatives is to protect the health and safety of customers and the larger public, there is strong reason to believe that the real aim is to bolster the industry’s public image and reduce the liability inherent in the sale and use of its products.
Adding to this hypocrisy is the fact that many of the “public health” efforts that the industry promotes are not based on scientific evidence, and some have even shown to be ineffective. Some examples include:
Despite the lure of significant funding from the alcohol industry for alcohol-related research and programs, researchers and public health officials need to be cautious when deciding whether to accept such funding or collaborate with the alcohol industry. Accepting such funding increases the appearance of doing the industry’s bidding instead of being primarily concerned with doing objective research in order to improve public health.
Source: The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA)