The campaigns to combat the effects of ‘passive smoking’ are widely credited for Europe’s growing number of smoking bans. Now alcohol is in the sights of the public health lobbyists, and they have invented the concept of ‘passive drinking’ as their killer argument....The intention--beyond "pedagogic" ones--have to do with a calculation related to "social harms."
‘EU experts agreed that the strategy needed to show more clearly the facts concerning harm on third parties (both social and health), including children and other family members of persons with alcohol-related problems. Experts said that there, for information and pedagogic reasons, was a need for a good phrase to explain what we mean by third-party harm in the alcohol field – reference was made to the phrase “passive smoking”.’
The draft report doesn’t mince its words when it comes to estimating the social harms of alcohol. ‘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.’ (2) The report further highlights the broader social cost of drinking, with the proviso that ‘these estimates are subject to a wide margin of error, [and] they are likely to be an underestimate of the true gross social cost of alcohol’.I try not to do politics here, but this seems like a backwards solution to an ill-defined problem.
‘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’, says the report. ‘In 2003 these were estimated to be €270bn, with other ways of valuing the same harms producing estimates between €150bn and €760bn.’