Did you know that alcohol is a cause of cancer? In fact, alcohol use is associated with 3,500 new cancer cases and 1,000 cancer deaths in Australia each year. It’s important to understand that the risk increases with the amount of alcohol drunk, regardless of the type.
Let’s dive deeper and shed light on the impact of alcohol on our health.
Bridging the knowledge gap to translate support into action for a healthier future
In 2022, we surveyed the NSW community to see if they were aware of the link between alcohol and cancer.
We found that only 59% were aware that alcohol is linked with cancer risk. While this level is still too low, it has risen since our last survey in 2019.
77% of people backed cancer warning labels on alcohol packaging.
70% of people supported a government-funded education program to increase awareness about the link between alcohol and cancer.
Over 70% of people favoured measures to reduce alcohol’s impact on young people, such as TV advertising restrictions or on government-owned property, like public transport.
More than 60% of people endorsed restrictions on alcohol home delivery to protect vulnerable groups, such as children, from accessing alcohol.
Community support is vital for effective alcohol policy
Our results show that people want more information about alcohol’s link to cancer and support a public education campaign to deliver this. In fact, support for an education campaign has risen from 61% to 70% over three years.
Demonstrating community support for better alcohol policy is important to convince politicians to take action. That’s why we’re calling on the new NSW government to invest in a comprehensive alcohol strategy aimed at reducing both short and long-term harms associated with alcohol use.
Success stories from other Australian states highlight the effectiveness of education campaigns in raising awareness of the alcohol-cancer link.
Not only that, but we think this should involve a broader strategy to promote awareness of Australian alcohol guidelines and address risky drinking in the community.
More education that encourages support for stronger alcohol policy is just the beginning
Research shows that education campaigns are effective, but this should just be the first step in priming the public to support further alcohol policy initiatives that aim to reduce harm.
Other alcohol policy measures are needed, such as restrictions on alcohol advertising on state government-owned property and measures to make it harder for vulnerable groups like kids to access alcohol. In doing so, support is likely to increase further as more people become aware of the alcohol guidelines and the link between alcohol use and cancer.
Stats from the NSW Government show that more than a third of people in NSW over the age of 16 drink alcohol at levels that put them at risk of long-term harm.
Given the already high support and the knowledge gap shown by our survey, it’s time for the NSW government to step up and help reduce the burden of alcohol in our community.