Wine In Supermarkets - © Rene Johnston - Toronto Star

Supermarket Wine Sales Unhealthy?

Just last Friday, we noted the start of Wine sales in selected Ontario Supermarkets. This morning, we note a concern from the province’s anti-Cancer agency that supermarket sales may increase our collective chance of getting a wide range of Cancers – because supermarket sales may lead us to drink more.

Alcohol Causes Breast Cancver - © Participating OrganizationsIn an interview with Toronto morning TV show Metro Morning, Dr. Linda Rabeneck, Vice-President of Prevention and Cancer Control with Cancer Care Ontario (CCO), said easier/increased access to alcohol is not such a good idea:

“We know from good published evidence that when you broaden access to alcohol, consumption goes up and the harms related to acute alcohol go up too. From our perspective as the provincial cancer agency, this is not a favourable move.”

It’s agreed across the medical world, that alcohol is a direct cause of several types of cancer that afflict the throat, breast, stomach, liver and colon. That’s not up for discussion. And CCO wants a reduction, rather than an increase in the density of Alcohol sales locations. Currently there are about 3,00 new Cancer cases a year in Ontario directly attributable to Alcohol and CCO expects that to increase significantly over the coming years as Wine sales are rolled out to about 300 supermarkets and Beer and Cider sales expand to some 450 supermarkets.

Cancer is a treatment-intensive disease and an increase in Cancer cases will just put more pressure on the already-stressed provincial health care system.

The government is listening

At the same time. the Ontario Government has announced a development program for a new, “provincial alcohol policy framework to support the safe and responsible consumption of alcohol,” a recent statement by the Ministry of Finance, which is in charge of the issue. The statement also notes that current policy, which led to the expansion of supermarket sale of alcohol, was developed in consultation with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and other concerned parties.

Nevertheless, “We want to be very clear that while our changes to alcohol retailing will expand consumer choice, it is imperative that we continue to ensure that alcohol is sold in a responsible manner,” the Ministry statement asserts.

And don’t forget that the Ministry of Finance is in charge of police, here, because Alcohol sales account for billions of dollars in taxes that flow into the provincial treasury every year. Where is the Ministry of Health in all this?


~ Maggie J.