We’re lucky to have a guest post from Robert S. Pezzolesi, MPH, from the New York Center for Alcohol Policy Solutions.
Why would the makers of a product that raises the risk of breast cancer promote it as if it’s part of the solution?
It’s all about the marketing.
1) The alcohol industry considers women to be a key growth market. (For example, the liquor giant Diageo has explicitly stated its intention to ramp up the marketing of vodka to “middle-aged women.”) This, despite the fact that women’s bodies are more susceptible to alcohol-related health problems than men’s.
2) Alcohol companies’ market research departments tell them that breast cancer cause marketing is an effective way to present a caring face to women. This has been described as the “halo effect.”
But shrewd marketing campaigns do not change the cold, hard fact that alcohol consumption is a risk factor for breast cancer, even at levels that could be deemed moderate for other health risks. One international study estimates that 9% of preventable breast cancer deaths in high-income counties are due to alcohol.
If alcohol companies truly want to show that they care about women, they should give them a break and ease up their aggressive marketing. And, while they’re at it, they should stop undercutting legitimate breast cancer research.