Where’s the evidence?

Hmmmm... Something does not quite square here in the long-running ‘raise the tax on alcohol’ vs the ‘no evidence that this reduces consumption’ arguments from the anti-alcohol lobby and the alcohol industry respectively.

A new report from the HSE urges the government to consider raising taxes on alcohol, saying – not for the first time – that this will help combat social and economic problems associated with alcohol abuse.

Either raising the price of alcohol cuts consumption or it doesn’t.


Which party is correct?

Which can prove what they state?

The conundrum continues.

The latest HSE-commissioned Report on the €3.7 billion cost to society of problem alcohol use in Ireland advocates that the Government “seriously consider” raising tax on alcohol. Not surprisingly, Alcohol Action Ireland’s Chief Executive Fiona Ryan agrees, stating that “all the research showed that higher prices lowered consumption rates.”

Yet the industry has bounced back with it’s perennial argument that, “There is no evidence to suggest that increasing excise is an effective method of addressing alcohol misuse”

Either there is evidence to suggest it cuts alcohol misuse or there is not. Either there is evidence that a price increase lowers consumption or it does not.

Why doesn’t AAI adduce the actual evidence rather than vaguely state that all the research showed etc etc – and for that matter, why doesn’t the industry adduce proof positive that there’s a lack of evidence to this effect?

The matter could be decided once and for all then, but  somehow, I suspect, there’s no incontrovertible evidence either way.

Sign Up for Drinks Industry Ireland

Get a free weekly update on Drinks Industry trade news, direct to your inbox. Sign up now, it's free