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Expert Reaction: Alcohol and tobacco report

Posted on 11 May 2018

Alcohol and tobacco are by far the biggest threat to human health around the world, a major report on addictive substances has found.

Ian Hamilton says more work needs to be done to reduce the harm caused by alcohol and tobacco. Pic credit: Chris Kim

Ian Hamilton, an expert in addiction at the University of York's Department of Health Sciences, gives his reaction to the report.

He said: “Too many people are losing good years of health as a result of smoking and drinking; it is clear that there is much more work to be done to reduce the harm caused by alcohol and tobacco.

"In the United Kingdom over 40% of all cigarettes are consumed by people with mental health problems. Likewise, 4.4% of the population account for nearly a third of all the alcoholconsumed. 


“We know that the alcohol industry has been effective in casting doubt about the health risks associated with alcohol such as cancer and liver disease. The industry has also fought hard against the introduction of minimum unit pricing for alcohol which after years of legal wrangling the Scottish Government finally introduced last week.

“Counter to what we might think, it is not illegal drugs that are causing the greatest damage to our population but legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco."

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