Cancer Council applauds historic warning on alcohol-based energy drinks

Saturday 17 May, 2008

The Cancer Council Victoria has welcomed today's warning by the Victorian Consumer Affairs Minister, The Hon Tony Robinson, MP on the dangers of ready-to-drink alcohol-based energy drinks.

The Cancer Council Victoria's director, Professor David Hill said, "The significance of this issue is highlighted by the fact that this is the first ever warning by a Victorian consumer affairs minister on the dangers of alcoholic drinks. We know alcohol is a key risk factor for a number of fatal diseases, including cancer, so it's very important to warn people about the risks they are posing to their health."

"Alcohol-based energy drinks mask the effects of intoxication and means people often drink more, for longer periods of time. This is likely to lead to higher levels of risk taking behaviour and alcohol-related accidents and injury. In the longer term, this kind of drinking can also cause serious harm to health with the onset of diseases such as cancer."

Latest evidence shows alcohol makes a significant contribution to cancer risk, in particular the breast, bowel, liver, oesophagus and mouth. It is the third most common cause of alcohol-attributable death behind car accidents and liver cirrhosis. (The Cancer Council Australia National Cancer Prevention Policy 2007-2009).

"If people do choose to drink alcoholic drinks, the Cancer Council recommends they limit their intake. Men should have no more than two standard drinks a day, and women, no more than one standard drink per day. People should also avoid binge drinking and have one or two alcohol-free days a week," said Professor Hill.

The Cancer Council Victoria made a joint submission with VicHealth and the Australian Drug Foundation to Consumer Affairs Victoria, raising concerns about ready-to-drink beverages, particularly the way they are marketed to young people.