Lifestyle Economics

The Lancet’s support for repressive regimes’ alcohol control policies is worrying


In the Media

Christopher Snowdon writes for the Telegraph

Labour Market

Len Shackleton responds to Labour plans to raise the minimum wage

Christopher Snowdon comments on new study in The Lancet

Responding to a study in The Lancet which claims that harmful drinking is rising, and which endorses alcohol control policies modelled after repressive regimes such as Saudi Arabia, Brunei, and Russia, Christopher Snowdon, Head of Lifestyle Economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs said:

“If global alcohol consumption increases it will be because the world has become richer and freer. We should welcome a future in which everyone can afford to have a drink.

“Although this study was funded by the World Health Organisation, the authors contradict the WHO’s own figures when they claim that binge drinking is on the rise. Binge drinking declined by ten per cent globally between 2010 and 2016. In Europe, it has fallen by 20 per cent since 1990. In Britain, it has declined by a quarter since 2007.

“The authors’ admiration for repressive regimes such as Russia, Saudi Arabia and Brunei is concerning. Only days ago, Brunei reluctantly bowed to pressure not to enforce a law sentencing homosexuals and adulterers to death by stoning. Nearly a century after Prohibition began in America, the prohibitionist dream lives on in the modern public health movement. It should be resisted.”

Notes to editors:

For media enquiries please contact Nerissa Chesterfield, Head of Communications: [email protected] or 07791 390 268

For related IEA reseach on paternalism, click here.

The Lancet study is embargoed until 23.30am today (Tuesday 7th May): 

The WHO’s binge drinking (heavy episodic drinking) figures (quoted above) are available here (p.6): 

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems and seeks to provide analysis in order to improve the public understanding of economics.

The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties.