CEPS: EC alcohol survey misses bigger picture

21 April, 2010

The European Commission’s new Eurobarometer report on attitudes to alcohol misses the bigger picture, according to CEPSand EFRD,the representatives of the European spirits industry.

Jamie Fortescue, director general of CEPS said: ““As the latest Eurobarometer report shows, the vast majority of consumers are already aware of the risks of alcohol misuse. This corresponds with our own research, which shows that between 97% and 99% of consumers are aware of the dangers of excessive or harmful drinking.”

At the same time, the Eurobarometer report shows that Europeans lack basic information. For example, only 27% of EU citizens can accurately give their country’s blood alcohol limit for driving.

Fortescue added: “Many Europeans don’t know that a standard glass of wine, whisky or beer contains the same amount of alcohol; whether they should drink when pregnant or what a safe limit is to drive.  These are some of the knowledge gaps that Europe needs to bridge in order to bring about a change in behaviour. It is clear that measures such as health warnings on bottles or in advertising can do little to achieve this.”

What is needed, according to CEPS and EFRD, are targeted information and education campaigns which involve all stakeholders. According to the organisations, this is where the Eurobarometer survey missed the point - by implying that only public authorities have the responsibility to protect consumers from alcohol-related harm.

Fortescue concluded: “Protecting consumers from alcohol related harm is a collective responsibility. This is central to the EU’s Alcohol Strategy, but the report does not seem to recognise this. In fact it ignores the role of many other important stakeholders including industry.”

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