A professor of addiction medicine says based on scientific evidence, there are nearly 750,000 heavy drinkers in New Zealand.
Doug Sellman, of Otago University's national addiction centre, told the Anglican Church's General Synod in Gisborne that people are quite rational about tobacco and its dangers.
Professor Sellman says tobacco is no longer glamorous, but alcohol is, and there is a culture in New Zealand which is primal in the way it treats what could be classified as a Class B drug.
At present, $200,000 is spent a day on alcohol promotion and sponsorship, but there is no message about the dangers, as there is with tobacco.
Professor Sellman says to treat the problems that alcohol causes, there needs to be a policy based on scientific evidence.