WHO Frets Anti-Alcohol Message May Sink EU Cancer Plan

The World Health Organization expressed concern to members of the European parliament that the EU's "Beating Cancer Plan" is threatened due to "scientifically inaccurate and worrisome" wording on alcohol use.

In Europe, non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, and cancer account for 90% of all deaths and, in particular, 70% of all premature deaths.

“The terminology of ‘moderate and responsible drinking information’ or ‘harmful consumption of alcohol’ is scientifically inaccurate and worrisome in the context of cancer prevention,” the WHO letter reads.

The WHO's regional office and its specialized cancer agency (IARC) chimed in, saying “the contribution of alcohol consumption to cancer incidence and mortality should be clearly recognised without the use of any qualifiers or misleading adjectives such as ‘harmful’ or ‘heavy’ consumption of alcohol or ‘responsible drinking’.”