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European Parliament votes on BECA report

Days after World Cancer Day, the European Parliament will vote over the Special Committee on Beating Cancer report on strengthening the EU's role in the fight against cancer.

By Lauri Beekmann,
Executive Director, NordAN
February 4, 2022

REPORT on strengthening Europe in the fight against cancer – towards a comprehensive and coordinated strategy
The report also includes (Paragraph 15 and Paragraph 16) recommendations on action regarding alcohol and cancer link.

The European Parliament will vote on the BECA report at the February plenary session, and there are clear indications that some EU member states will attempt to amend the role and wording of alcohol in the report to "restore proper balance." South-European economical interests have promised to "fight tooth and nail" against the measures suggested in the report. Arguments that will be used will include keywords like "moderation", "Mediterranean diet", "jobs", "export" etc.


Alcohol is classified as a Group 1 carcinogen, which means there is no doubt it causes cancer, just like tobacco smoke and asbestos. The consumption of alcoholic beverages is causally linked to cancers of the upper aerodigestive tract (oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, and oesophagus) and cancers of the colon, rectum, liver, and female breast.

Why is it important that the Parliament supports the proposed paragraphs on alcohol as a cancer risk factor?

It is required that different products not intended to be consumed by humans should warn against potential health hazards, but it has not been required that alcohol beverages intended for human consumption should warn against different negative consequences. This is because the industry has been heard for decades, and the result is that people are unaware, confused, and misinformed.

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