Press Conference: Public in Dark about Alcohol and Heart Disease

WASHINGTON, DC November 6, 1995—CEI today releases a poll showing that over half the American public does not know about the cardiovascular benefits of moderate alcohol consumption. The poll comes six months after CEI petitioned the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to lift its ban on mentioning this issue in alcohol labelling and advertising. ATF has taken no action on this petition.

CEI will hold a press conference Monday, November 6, 10:30 AM at 1001 Connecticut Ave., NW (building entrance on K Street.) Suite 1250.

The connection between moderate alcohol consumption and reduced heart disease risk is supported by a wide body of medical research, and has been noted in publications ranging from the New England Journal of Medicine to Consumer Reports. According to the new poll, which involved telephone interviews with 1,000 registered voters conducted in late October, only 41.7% of adults know about this medical evidence. Research indicates that the benefits of moderate consumption can be obtained from all alcoholic beverages—wine, beer and spirits. However, the poll found that only 9.7% of the public knows this. Of those polled who knew about the connection between moderate alcohol consumption and reduced risk of heart disease, half thought it applied only to wine or to red wine.

On May 9, CEI petitioned ATF to permit alcohol beverage labels to carry this statement: “There is significant evidence that moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages may reduce the risk of heart disease.” ATF has yet to issue a response.

CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman stated: “This poll indicates that only one in ten Americans knows the facts about moderate alcohol consumption. ATF is directly responsible for fostering this state of ignorance with a policy that flatly violates the First Amendment.”