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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Global response needed to control alcohol industry

Half of the world’s population are said to be consuming alcohol and the numbers are dangerously increasing, said Professor Sally Caswell yesterday.

The professor from Massey University, New Zealand told the 18th International Federation of Non-Government Organisation (IFNGO) Asean NGOs Workshop participants that there were more than three billion alcohol consumers.

Giving an example of the increasing numbers, she compared the percentage of alcohol consumers between Thailand and her own country, New Zealand.

“In Thailand the consumers of alcohol has been kept low as most of the population were Buddhist. However, studies had shown that there has been an increase in the number of alcohol consumers in the country, most of whom are young people and women,” she told reporters.

She was one of three speakers at the third plenary session in a workshop on prevention of drug and substance abuse, a joint programme with IOGT International. When met by reporters after the session, she said in her country 80 per cent of the people consume alcoholic drinks.

“Alcohol is a major global health issue and with the globalisation of the alcohol industry the markets are expanded through open promotions,” she said.

She further explained that because people were exposed to openly sold alcohol there is a need for an international response comparable to that against tobacco.

In this respect, it is crucial that NGO networks play a role in keeping the alcohol industry under control, she said, adding that many countries would not stop selling or marketing alcohol.


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