Archive for the 'Health' Category

Moderate consumption may lower risk of rheumatoid arthritis

Monday, August 6th, 2012

A study conducted by researchers at the Karolinska Institute suggests that women who consumed alcohol moderately over a 10 year period were less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis. Approximately 1.5 million American adults live with rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disease. Researchers believe that alcohol effects the disease because spirits suppress the body’s immune system.

The Huffington Post reports,

The research, which is published online in the British Medical Journal, included 34,141 Swedish women whose health information was recorded in 1987 and 1997. Then, researchers followed up again with the women between 2003 and 2009 to find that 197 of them had developed rheumatoid arthritis.

After taking into account other factors like age, diet and smoking, the researchers found that people who reported drinking more than three alcoholic beverages a week — where a single beverage is defined as 500 milliliters of beer, 150 milliliters of wine or 50 milliliters of liquor — had a 52 percent lower rheumatoid arthritis risk, compared with people who never drank.

While the research emphasizes moderate consumption, it also indicates the positive health benefits of alcohol revealed by numerous previous studies, including one on osteoporosis.

PCLB awards grants to prevent underage drinking, promote responsible consumption

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board will commit over $1 million towards efforts to prevent underage drinking in the state of Pennsylvania. PCLB chairman said of the grants, “The PLCB understands the many issues communities face as a result of underage drinking and irresponsible consumption. These grant awards allow us to make a positive impact on the health and well-being of Pennsylvania families and their communities.” Focusing on health and safety, the grants will discourage underage drinking and will also encourage responsible consumption for those of age.

For the full story, click here.

ShotPaks: A Dangerous New Craze

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

If you thought that Alcopops encouraged drinking amongst young adults, wait until you hear about a new craze:  ShotPaks.  ShotPaks are small, shot-sized alcoholic drinks that come in little plastic pouches—perfect for a drinker on the go, according to manufacturers.  Marketed as a “party in a pouch,” ShotPaks are sweet, sugary drinks called “Purple Hooters” and “Kamikazes,” although the more serious drinker may want to pick up the “STR8UP” ShotPaks, which contain only straight liquor without any mixer.


Sure, there may be no glass to break, and therefore ShotPaks might seem safer at events like concerts and sports games.  However, the real danger is that the small size and sweet taste of ShotPaks make them tasty, easily concealable and, in other words, very appealing to underage drinkers.  By helping to push drinking more undercover, ShotPaks make binge drinking even harder to monitor amongst both underage and of-age drinkers—something that have dangerous consequences.

“Should You Drink with Your Kids?”

Friday, June 20th, 2008

Should You Drink with Your Kids?,” published in the June 30th Issue of Time Magazine, is an insightful and balanced article on underage drinking and the drinking age.  Aside from addressing multiple points of view on the topic of underage drinking and drinking with parental supervision, we think that it does an excellent job of citing appropriate research and raising some important points about drinking and public health that are at the center of many of Choose Responsibility’s ideas.  We particularly like its attention to the problem of binge drinking and what may be contributing to increases in binge drinking rates over the last few years.  We encourage you to check out the article and, as always, we welcome your comments and questions.

Increasing the Tax on Alcopops

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

We have previously commented on the growing popularity of “alcopops” and our concern that their advertised reputation as sweet drinks masking the taste of liquor, while delivering intoxication, makes them appeal to underage drinkers.  Alcopops are usually sold in stores’ beer aisles, also making them popular among underage drinkers, who most frequently choose beer as their drink of choice.  Large-scale consumption of these drinks by young and underage drinkers fuels the binge-drinking problem in this country, and so we were happy to read that California has recently decided to regulate and tax alcopops as distilled spirits and not as beers.  The change, which will take place in October, will tax alcopops with the current liquor tax of $3.30 per gallon, up from $0.20 per gallon, the current tax on beer.

We believe that increasing the tax on alcopops will help decrease their consumption amongst underage drinkers since a higher price tag should decrease their appeal amongst consumers.  In fact, past studies have indicated that throughout history, higher taxes on alcohol have led to a decreased likelihood of heavy drinking and binge drinking.  Higher alcohol prices have also been correlated with decreased rates of underage drinking, sexually transmitted diseases, and traffic fatalities in the past…nothing wrong with that! 

Recent comments on our May 27th, 2008 post argue that using higher taxes to deter alcohol consumption is a neo-prohibitionist approach and that focus should be placed on responsible drinking and not the type of alcohol consumed.  However, we believe that alcopops are a unique case and that increasing the tax on these beverages is an appropriate strategy to combat irresponsible drinking.  Alcopops appeal to underage and young drinkers, who are most likely to binge drink, and so making them less appealing by raising their price targets irresponsible drinking within this age group.  This, coupled with the fact that studies have shown that higher prices deter alcohol abuse, suggests that increasing the tax on alcopops will be effective in reducing irresponsible binge drinking.  Of course, we hope that measures to teach responsible drinking, such as education programs on safe alcohol consumption, are adopted along with these adjustments in taxes.  With any luck, other states will begin to follow California’s lead and reconsider their tax policies for liquor in the near future.

To read more on the studies mentioned above, see Paying the Tab:  The Costs and Benefits of Alcohol Control, by Philip J. Cook—a very interesting read.


“In the Mix:” PBS Alcohol Special

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

The PBS show “In the Mix,” produced by teens, for teens, will be airing “Alcohol: What You Don’t Know” during the week of June 7-14, 2008. The show will present the facts behind alcohol use and abuse and explore the effects of alcohol through interviews with victims of drunk driving accidents and alcoholics. A sample high school program in which upperclassmen teach responsible drinking workshops for younger students will also be presented. We encourage you to tune in to see what these young people have to say, and welcome your feedback and comments.  Check your local listings for more information on “In the Mix” and to see when it will be broadcast in your area.

The State of Alcohol and Health

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

Binge drinking is a public health problem, but is alcohol inherently bad for our health? Some interesting commentary from addiction expert, Dr. Stanton Peele.