Walsh’s paper examines how drinking patterns, lifestyle factors, access to healthcare and social context play a role in why poorer people suffer greater harmful health effects of alcohol, even with lower average consumption.
“The disproportionate effect of alcohol consumption affecting populations of low socioeconomic status is unusual, given the normally positive relationship between exposure and consequence,” he explains.
“In lower socioeconomic groups, alcohol use is more polarised, with higher levels of both abstinence and binge drinking. Binge drinking has more destructive effects and negates the apparent cardio-protective benefits of moderate drinking.
“There is also a multiplicative effect between alcohol and cigarette smoking. With mouth and throat cancer, for example, it has been found that its prevalence is seven times greater with tobacco use and six times greater with alcohol use—but thirty-eight times greater for those using both tobacco and alcohol.”
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