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The Economics of Alcohol in Canada

Lindsay, Robert (Rev.)
Publisher:  United Church 0 Division of Mission, Toronto, Canada
Year Published:  1976  
Pages:  18pp  
Resource Type:  Article

A paper written in response to the growing concern about the increasing abuse of alcohol in Canada shows the direct relation between consumption and advertising.

Abstract:  This paper is written in response to the growing concern about the increasing abuse of alcohol in Canada. Figures quoted in this report reveal that between 1969 and 1972 alcohol consumption increased by 30% in this country. The paper shows alcoholism is a social as well as a personal disease. Alcoholism spreads in direct relation to consumption which grows in direct relation to advertising, sales promotion,convenience shopping, public tolerance etc. If a society is seriously concerned about curing alcoholism, then it needs to first curb the consumption of alcohol which can only be done through limiting sales. Behind corporate profiteering and sales increases, persuasive advertising techniques are key promoters of increased consumption; beer, wine and liquor are portrayed as being "essential" to our lifestyle.

The paper also examines the alcohol industry's growing attachment to the identification with various sporting events and organizations and the profitability factor involved in such an investment relationship. The paper show that, while the government does control the sale of alcohol, it simultaneously encourages increased consumption and therefore should be held partly responsible.

Alcohol abuse leads to employee absenteeism, alcohol-related crimes, and inflation. All programs of alcohol rehabilitation and prevention are supported but "until brakes are applied to the profitability of brewing and distilling the best laid preventions will be as smoke up the chimney."

The government must be challenged to give more visibility to alcohol revenues and alcohol-related expenses as well as demanding that private industry publicize its advertising accounts. Nationalization of the alcohol industry might finally be the only recourse.

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