Ramadoss reveals govt is planning alcohol policy

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New Delhi, Apr 29 (UNI) The Government is considering formulating a national alcohol policy aimed at reducing the 'alcohol burden' on the country by controlling the number of liquor shops and tax generated from the industry, Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said today.

Dr Ramadoss also criticised the use of surrogate liquor advertisement in Indian Premier League and said he would take up the matter with the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

He also appealed to film stars not to endorse alcohol brands through advertisements, direct or surrogate as alcohol has a huge economic, social and health impact.

Expressing concern over the declining age of alocohol use, Dr Ramadoss said the national alcohol policy would take into account views of all the stakeholders. State governments would also be consulted while formulating the policy as alcohol was a state subject and they could only effectively regulate the industry.

India produces four million metric tonnes of alcohol every year accounting for 65 per cent of alcohol in south and southeast Asia, but the amount of revenue generated from the industry was less than the amount spent on dealing with health problems due to alcohol consumption, he said while releasing the Alcohol Atlas of India.

The Health Minister also appealed to the World Health Organisation to become pro-active and put in place a framework convention on alcohol like the one meant to curb tobacco consumption.

Appealing film actors not to endorse any alcohol brand or promote a surrogate advertisement, he said liquor cannot be justified as a stress reliever as portrayed in films. Asserting that alcohol was the mother of all kinds of problem be it economic or social, he said that after tobacco and cardiovasculor disease liqour was the third most health hazard. However, it may soon become the number one as the age of alcohol consumption was decreasing in the country which has the largest youth population in the world.

Dr Ramadoss said he would continue fighting against the four major problems of tobacco, alcohol, drugs and junk foods.

UNI AJ SY VC1833

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