A graphic advertisement showing how alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream, increasing the risk of cancerous cell mutations is the most effective alcohol education advertisement in the world, according to a new study.
The study, published in British Medical Journal Open, tested 83 alcohol education advertisements from around the world and found that Western Australian advertisement ‘Spread’ (by The Brand Agency) was most likely to motivate drinkers to reduce their alcohol consumption.
The advertisement demonstrates that alcohol is carcinogenic, which Cancer Council Victoria CEO Todd Harper said is still widely unknown in the community.
“Our 2015 survey of Victorian men and women found that nearly half of the respondents either believed that alcohol made no difference or were not sure if it had any effect on a person’s risk of cancer,” Harper said.
“It’s worrying because alcohol is a Group 1 carcinogen – the highest classification available. It means that there is strong evidence that alcohol causes cancer at some body sites in humans.
Harper said that every drink increases the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, bowel, liver and female breast.
“More than 3200 cases of cancer each year in Australia could be prevented if people limited their alcohol consumption,” he said.
“We recommend that those who choose to drink alcohol consume no more than two standard drinks on any day.”
Harper said the research highlights how mass media campaigns can be used to help the public understand more about the consequences of long-term alcohol consumption.
“We’ve seen how effective campaigns around drink driving and short term harms such as injury or violence have been in terms of changing our drinking habits, but in Victoria and the majority of the rest of Australia, we rarely see the long-term health effects of alcohol portrayed on our screens,” he said.
Cancer Council Victoria is hoping to use the top advertisement in a campaign later in 2017.