Category Archives: Alcohol Affairs & Stats

Alcohol Surveys & Statistic worthy of review & commentary

Alcohol May Reduce Men’s Heart Risk

Study Shows Moderate Drinking Cuts Risk of Heart Disease in Men by 51%

By Kathleen Doheny, WebMD Health News

Nov. 18, 2009 — Regular consumption of alcohol — beer, wine, or hard liquor — reduces the risk of heart disease in men by a third or more, according to a new Spanish study.

heart risk, health, drinking, tequila”Our study confirms what many other studies have already said,” says researcher Larraitz Arriola, MD, of the Public Health Department of Gipuzkoa in San Sebastian, Spain. One difference, she says: Researchers in the new study separated ex-drinkers from lifelong teetotalers in hopes of better understanding the alcohol- heart health link.

Arriola and colleagues also found a beneficial effect of alcohol for women’s heart health, she says, but it was not strong enough to be considered statistically significant. She suspects it’s because of the relatively low number of women in the study who developed heart disease.

While drinking was associated with heart health, Arriola is quick to offer this caveat: ”I would not advise anybody to [start to] drink alcohol, because alcohol causes, as we mention in our paper, 1.8 million deaths a year” in addition to disabilities.

“If somebody already drinks alcohol, then I would advise to drink moderately, eat healthy food, and do some exercise.”

In the study, researchers evaluated more than 41,000 men and women enrolled in the ongoing European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC) study. That study includes a half million adults living in 10 Western European countries.

In the current research looking at alcohol and heart health, the researchers evaluated 15,630 men and 25,808 women ages 29 to 69,  all free of heart disease at the beginning of the study, following them for a median of 10 years (half longer, half less).

The researchers calculated alcohol intake from a diet history record; a follow-up revealed which participants had a cardiovascular event — either a heart attack or unstable angina (chest pains) that required a procedure such as a bypass operation or angioplasty.

During the follow-up, 609 such events occurred to 481 men and 128 women.

Spain has low heart disease death rates in comparison to some other countries, but high levels of alcohol consumption.

Amount of Alcohol and Heart Risk

Drinking any type of alcohol lowered the risk of serious heart disease in men, with the amount of risk reduction associated with the amount of alcohol:

  • Light drinking reduced risk by 35%
  • Moderate drinking reduced risk by 51%
  • High and very high levels of drinking reduced risk by 54% and 50%.

Former drinkers had a 10% risk reduction.

For the study, the researchers considered a drink as an alcoholic beverage with 10 grams of alcohol, the U.K. standard, Arriola says. In the U.S., a standard drink is equal to 13.7 grams of alcohol, according to the CDC.

heart risk, heart disease, heart health, tequilaRoughly, here is how Arriola defines her categories:

  • Light drinking was up to 5 grams a day — or about one glass of wine, one and one-half beers, or less than a half glass of hard liquor.
  • Moderate drinking was 5 to 30 grams a day, or about two glasses of wine, two or three beers, or a half to one glass of hard liquor.
  • High and very high levels of drinking were 30 to 90 grams a day, or about five or more glasses of wine, seven or more beers, and one to one and a half glasses or more of hard liquor.While the type of alcoholic beverage consumed, overall, did not have an effect on the level of risk reduction, the researchers found the protection greater for those drinking moderate to high levels of alcohol, which included beverages other than wine alone.The study results replicate many other studies, according to Kristi Reynolds, PhD, MPH, a research scientist and epidemiologist at the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Medical Group. But she points out that heavy alcohol consumption carries many risks.In an email, she writes that heavy alcohol consumption has been shown in other studies to lead to increased illness and death from other causes. “Therefore, the implications of these findings should be examined cautiously. Advice regarding alcohol consumption should be tailored to the individual patient’s risks and the potential benefit.”

 

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Originally posted November 20, 2009 by TequilaRack.

Please visit TequilaRack, a member of the Tequila Aficionado Flight of Sites.

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What If There Were No Duty Free Tequila?

In the December 17, 2009 issue of Drinks International online magazine, the headline reads:

WHO plans global duty free liquor ban

The story goes on to say…

“The World Health Organization (WHO) has shocked the duty-free industry by proposing a global ban on duty-free liquor sales, a business which was worth $6.3bn last year.”

The proposal to slow down alcohol consumption was actually published in December of last year, but will finally get onto the WHO’s Executive Board agenda between January 18-23, 2010. The Board is made up of health ministers from 34 leading countries, and if it approves the proposal, it will be presented to the WHO’s full annual General Assembly in May 2010.

Keith Spinks, secretary general of the European Travel Retail Council (ETRC) believes that the proposal will pass the Executive Board and into the General Assembly that is made up of 193 governments, and warns, “If this goes though, it will be a disaster for the industry.”

Should the World Health Organization ratify this proposal, there is an upside.  According to Spinks, this proposal on liquor would not be “binding.”

“It is going to be up to each member country to decide whether to implement the proposal or not.” But, he adds, “My fear is that some countries will and some won’t, leaving us in a big mess.”

In 2005, the WHO tried to ban duty-free tobacco sales through its Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The FCTC was ratified by 165 countries worldwide, but has yet to be implemented by any country.

A quick review of the members of the World Health Organization may give a clue as to why.

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Tourism

All countries which are Members of the United Nations may become members of World Health Organization by accepting its Constitution.  So, which countries are members?

Australia, the Bahamas, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, Switzerland, UK, and the USA, to name just a few.  Most all of these countries have one or more international airports with duty free stores selling among other things, spirits, cigars, and cigarettes.

Not only do most of these member countries tout tourism as a major industry, but many also have their signature spirits (and cigars, in some cases) that define them.  Examples are rum from Barbados, limoncello from Italy, and of course, tequila from Mexico.

Where duty free merchants pay inventory/business or other taxes, customers usually pay none.  For these countries, tourism, and the profit made at duty free shops from alcohol and tobacco sales, is directly related to each other.

How much damage could the enforcement of this proposal do?

WHO vs. Patrón

As stated above, duty-free liquor sales from last year amounted to $6.3 billion in 2008.  That accounted for 17.2% of the total global liquor business according to the Drinks International article.

In the April 2008 issue of Impact Magazine, it states that Patrón tequila was also penetrating the travel retail sector overseas, long a key channel for high-end spirits but one in which tequila was underappreciated.  Patrón was aggressively growing its brand by sampling at very visible public relations events in key cities such as London, Athens, Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney, all whose countries are members of the World Health Organization.

The Patrón Spirits Company, producers of Patrón tequila, claim on their website to be in over 100 countries and islands worldwide.  Given that there are only 193 members of the WHO, the chances are good that Patrón is available in the duty free stores of most of these member countries.

Assuming that the same 163 countries that ratified the duty free tobacco ban in 2005 also decided to ratify—and enforce–the duty free alcohol ban, the results could be devastating not just for Patrón, but also for Sauza, Brown-Forman (El Jimador brand), and Jose Cuervo, as well as all spirits suppliers, duty free retailers, and airports.

While it seems likely that the World Health Organization’s Executive Board will ratify the alcohol ban proposal, it seems unlikely that any countries will actually enforce it.

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