Don’t believe the Swedish junk science you read above. Here is British junk science to disprove it.
“…He accused ministers [of the health department] of not taking the health consequences of alcohol seriously enough even though it kills 20,000 people a year and costs the NHS £20 billion. … 39,180 adults were admitted to hospital with chronic alcoholic liver disease in England in 2005/6.” If we divide the claimed cost by the 20,000 “dead”, that means that every “corpse” would cost a million pounds to NHS. Or, if we divide the claimed £20 billion by the 39,180 hospitalizations, Mr. Average alcoholic would “cost” British “public health” £510,464.52, or $1,028,648.07. For those who understand Euros better, the figure is €754,925.27.
While you decide whether to believe the figures above or to laugh about them (don’t choke on your beer or cigarette, though!), the “he” in question is Dr. Nick Sheron, a consultant in liver medicine at Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust.
Although – and differently than the “smoking-related” diseases – it would be hard to argue that the (extreme) cases of those who go to him vomiting red blood are not related to a bottle of whisky a day or thereabout, it would be interesting to know from Dr. Sheron what kind of actions he would like “public health” to take. Brainwashing, paternalism and scare tactics? Posting a policeman in every pub? Hyper-taxation of alcohol? Denial of medical care (as it already happens for smokers and the overweight) to punish the drinkers and set them “straight”? The annihilation of self-esteem? Prohibition? Probably all of the above in the name of “public health” for maximum effectiveness. Perhaps, instead, an effective and real form of prevention would be the elimination of antismoking and anti-fat hate campaigns, the removal of the 5 million CCTV cameras from the British streets, the turning off of the “speed hammers” on the British highways and, in general, the removal of the fetid breath of the state from the neck of the British citizen. That liberty alone would remove the need for many to find refuge in alcoholic stupor.
Here is another question: would the elimination of all those “causes” also remove the expenditures of NHS – that is, produce a dramatic reduction of NHS structural expenditure? Of course not: hospitals, personnel and equipment would still be there, wouldn’t they? Therefore, what would the net cost of NHS be (in billions of pounds), were everybody to become a healthist? Relax, we don’t expect an answer.