New frontiers for the Nanny State

If your or a drinker or like salty, fatty or sugary foods you may have more in common with smokers than you think. As covered by The Australian’s Christian Kerr:

Health activists are seeking public funds to lay the groundwork for bans on alcohol advertising, minimum pricing of alcoholic drinks, restrictions on certain foods and to push the case that alcohol causes cancer.

Kerr’s article follows a recent IPA-submitted a freedom of information request asking for copies of submissions to a grants program run by the newly-formed National Preventative Health Agency. The ones that were funded are public information. So what got rejected?

Based on these documents provided by the Agency health activists are basically looking at replicating their heavily funded war against tobacco on alcohol and food financed by the generosity of taxpayers.

Some of the more entertaining proposals include:

  • “What is the public support for regulating the food supply?”
  • “Preventing alcohol problems among young hospitality workers: an evaluation of innovative intervention”
  • “LIFT ME – Lifestyle information by text messages”

But a clear example of the intended trend to replace the war on tobacco with a new war on alcohol and food is put forward with proposals such as:

  • “Obesity, smoking and alcohol use: social determinants and morbidity in Australian general practice patients”.
  • “Alcohol causes cancer? Public and ethical responses to mandated alcohol warning labels about long-term risk of cancer”.
  • “Communicating alcohol as a cancer risk: reaching a diverse Australian public through multi-media health messages”

In a follow up piece, Kerr outlines the systemic nature of the health activist community targeting alcohol and food now that they believe the war on tobacco has been won.

According to one source in Kerr’s piece who has previously worked with the health activist community “they’re deliberately replicating the tobacco campaign”. And “their latest target is alcohol, with their secondary target obesity. They’re trying to do so in a way to keep the alcohol industry out of the debate by trying to say anything that the alcohol industry touches is corrupt.”

This is a very unwelcome development. As I said in yesterday’s Australian article:

When activists want to test the public’s preparedness for wartime rationing policies, you’ve got to wonder whether they understand that we live in a free society that respects individual choice.

It seems not, and they’re pushing against it with the license of your tax dollars.


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