Nieuwste gevaar, passief drinken

Nu, onder professionele gezondheidsfanaten, het idee bestaat dat de strijd tegen het roken is gewonnen, moet nodig het volgende werkveld ontgonnen gaan worden: alcohol. Dezelfde spelers die ons de rookverboden brachten gaan nu het drinken te lijf.


En waarom zou je dan niet bouwen op dezelfde lumineuze gedachte die de ‘War on Tobacco’ heeft gewonnen:



  • maak mensen wijs dat het gebruik van een stof of een bepaalde levensstijl schadelijk is voor onschuldige omstanders;
  • communiceer dat naar de mensen die zo’n stof niet gebruiken en slachtoffer kunnen zijn of worden;
  • schilder de gebruikers af als idioten waar je, als niet-gebruiker, op neer kunt kijken;
  • zorg samen met de farmaceutische industrie voor afkickmiddelen;
  • vraag geld bij de farmaceuten om onderzoek te doen dat aantoont dat passief drinken (was: roken) gevaarlijker is dan drinken (roken) zelf;
  • ga op steeds meer plaatsen de (verkoop van) drank (tabak) verbieden;
  • maak de horeca alcoholvrij (rookvrij)

De Europese Unie en de Verenigde Naties bereiden er zich al op voor om deze weg in te slaan. Een nieuwe ‘schuld-campagne’ is onderweg!


We zijn benieuwd of de pers ook nu weer kritiekloos de propaganda en regelrechte leugens van de gezondheidsindustrie en onze fantastische overheden gaat na-papegaaien. Of zouden ze deze keer wél inzien dat we gigantisch voor het lapje worden gehouden en dat ‘passief drinken’ net zo’n grote onzin is als ‘passief roken’?!!


Hectoring campaigns over “passive smoking” are credited for Europe’s almost total smoking ban. Now alcohol is in the sights of the public health miserablists and they have invented the concept of “passive drinking” as their killer argument.


The Daily Mail takes up a report in New Scientist to trumpet a new “guilt campaign” that is heading our way. “The World Health Organisation’s global strategy will aim to match the success of campaigns which have made smokers feel guilty about the harm second-hand smoke does to others,” says the report.


Ian Gilmore, president of the Royal College of Physicians is wheeled on to confirm the new approach. “The tipping point for banning smoking in public places was third party damage,” he said.


The EU public health brigade are not far behind, in fact Brussels miserablists in the European Commission’s DG SANCO have been trying to poison the drinking debate with this new assault on reason for years.


I took up the EU “passive drinking” debate around two years ago in response to strident claims, in a Commission report, about the high environmental or social toll of alcohol, the “harm done by someone else’s drinking”.


“The total tangible cost of alcohol to EU society in 2003 was estimated to be €125bn (€79bn-€220bn), equivalent to 1.3 per cent GDP, and which is roughly the same value as that found recently for tobacco,” said the report written by Dr Peter Anderson, who has a background in the World Health Organisation (WHO) and who played a leading role in Tobacco Free Initiative Europe.


“The intangible costs show the value people place on pain, suffering and lost life that occurs due to the criminal, social and health harms caused by alcohol. In 2003 these were estimated to be €270bn, with other ways of valuing the same harms producing estimates between €150bn and €760bn.”


On Thursday, at an informal meeting of health ministers in Brdo, Slovenian Health Minister, Zofija Mazej Kukovič dusted off the report – and its language.


“Harmful and dangerous alcohol consumption causes more than seven per cent of the premature morbidity and mortality in our countries. The annual costs stemming from this have been estimated at as much as €125 billion for the EU as a whole. However, the harm caused by alcohol is still underestimated,” she said.


The figures are meant to be pretty scary. Drink is responsible for 2,000 homicides, four out of 10 of Europe’s annual murders. “The economic cost of alcohol-attributable crime has been estimated to be €33bn in the EU for 2003….while the intangible cost of the physical and psychological effects of crime has been valued at €9bn – €37bn,” said the Anderson report.


Children, too, are passive victims of drinking. “Many of the harms caused by alcohol are borne by people other than the drinker responsible. This includes 60,000 underweight births, as well as 16 per cent of child abuse and neglect, and five to nine million children in families adversely affected by alcohol,” says the EU report’s summary.


The link made by between alcohol and crime today, whether violence or child abuse or other social ills, follows not from hard facts but from an outlook that sees human characteristics as damaging in general. And if human beings, particularly when under the influence of stimulants, are destructive, then, the argument goes, social intervention must follow. The idea that almost any activity – drinking, eating, speaking, even thinking – can cause harm is often blown out of proportion and used to generate frightening figures and policies.


The sheer absurdity of the idea of “passive drinking” would be funny if the public health lobby was not so powerful and unpleasant. I found that in a twist of irony, probably lost on po-faced public health types, that the expression “passive drinking” seems to have originated as a spoof in two Peter Simple columns in the Daily Telegraph in 2002 and 2003, written by the late Michael Wharton.


Mocking the rise of nonsense research to justify social measures, he wrote about research work being carried out by “Dr Ron Hardware of Nerdley University”. “They were the first to discover the scourge of ‘passive drinking’, showing by painstaking experiments and finely adjusted statistics that it was just as deadly as ‘passive smoking’ and equally capable of causing cancer and innumerable other ills,” he wrote.


The war on ‘passive drinking’

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  • "Es ist schwieriger, eine vorgefaßte Meinung zu zertrümmern als ein Atom."
    (Het is moeilijker een vooroordeel aan flarden te schieten dan een atoom.)
    Albert Einstein

  • "Als je alles zou laten dat slecht is voor je gezondheid, dan ging je kapot"
    Anonieme arts

  • "The effects of other people smoking in my presence is so small it doesn't worry me."
    Sir Richard Doll, 2001

  • "Een leugen wordt de waarheid als hij maar vaak genoeg wordt herhaald"
    Joseph Goebbels, Minister van Propaganda, Nazi Duitsland


  • "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."
    Mahatma Gandhi

  • "There''s no such thing as perfect air. If there was, God wouldn''t have put bristles in our noses"
    Coun. Bill Clement

  • "Better a smoking freedom than a non-smoking tyranny"
    Antonio Martino, Italiaanse Minister van Defensie

  • "If smoking cigars is not permitted in heaven, I won't go."
    Mark Twain

  • I've alllllllways said that asking smokers "do you want to quit?" and reporting the results of that question, as is, is horribly misleading. It's a TWO part question. After asking if one wants to quit it must be followed up with "Why?" Ask why and the majority of the answers will be "because I'm supposed to" (victims of guilt and propaganda), not "because I want to."
    Audrey Silk, NYCCLASH