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Competing interests Until June 2008, BB was an employee of the Institute of Alcohol Studies, which is primarily funded by the Alliance House Foundation (formerly the UK Temperance Alliance). Further details about the aims and operation of the IAS can be found from http://www.ias.org.uk/aboutus/who_we_are.html. BB continues to receive funding from the Institute and has also received funding from the World Health Organization and the European Commission for projects on related topics. BB is writing in a personal capacity, and the views expressed in this article should not be interpreted as the official position of the Institute of Alcohol Studies.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.