The hidden costs of alcohol and junk food

The hidden costs of alcohol and junk food

The question of the rights to advertise vs. the health of the people is a good debate to have.  The real cost of rampant advertising of junk food and alcohol is currently unchallenged.  The damage statistics in this article are 6-7 years old and have grown exponentially since then but they are still chilling reading for Australians.

Cancer Council of Australia chief executive Ian Olver says 30% of Australian cancer deaths are preventable by not smoking, moderate alcohol consumption, eating healthy food and reasonable exercise.

The Collins and Lapsley data from 2004-2005 estimates:

  • Smoking costs Australian society $31.5 billion
  • Alcohol costs $15.3 billion
  • Illicit drug use $8.2 billion

Junk food – given everyone eats – would be higher than all of these.

The great Canberra Times article below suggests “It is not reasonable to argue, as tobacco producers do, that consumption of potentially dangerous products is a matter only of personal choice.  As indicated by the Collins and Lapsley figures, poor individual choices are paid for by everyone”.

The article sites a 2010 study that found 28% of men and 11% of women in Australia drank alcohol at harmful levels.

AND 23% of men and 9% of women consumed alcohol in quantities that put them at risk of alcohol-related injury from a single drinking occasion at least weekly.

Read more:


As reported in The Canberra Times on August 26, 2012.

Posted: Sunday 26 August 2012