back to article Ban booze in supermarkets, says health adviser

A health adviser to the government has formulated a cunning plan to tackle the UK's binge drinking epidemic which some claim has seen this green and pleasant land converted into a booze-fuelled version of a bad Saturday night in the Democratic Republic of Congo - simply ban the sale of alcohol in supermarkets. According to the …

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Ian

And the same principle for everything else we don't like?

If we follow this to its logical conclusion, surely you'd have to visit a different shop for your unhealthy food as well, given that this is also a public health menace.

So that's what Iceland is for!

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Price of beer is disgracefully high

Maybe the prof should get over to the pub when he's considering the price of alcohol.

Far from disgracefully cheap I think he'll find that at £2.50 a pint or more it's disgracefully high.

Maybe someone should provide him with a connection back to reality from whatever alternate dimension he inhabits, either that or cut his communication cord.

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Anonymous Coward

I can't see the problem with this proposal...

but I do wear glasses!

Is he suggesting all Alcohol or just spirits & tart fuel and leaving sensible stouts of moderate alcohol for the discerning? Segregating sales in "Off-license" sections and slapping opening hours on them might be helpful but that would be a retrograde step, not in line with a modern "New Britain" of consumer choice and customer focussed business and would raise costs.

Ohhh cynical me.

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I'll point out...

that the "certain states" here in the United States that restrict the sale of adult beverages are generally the butt of every hick joke. Following these certain states lead, since they typically lead in illiteracy, would not be advisable.

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Could this mean a return of the old fasioned off-license?

Be nice if it did. Back to the days of actually being able to ask someone that knows each bottle, rather than someone that probably hasn't even tasted it...

Not sure I agree with the price hike though.

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The Best Idea....

I have heard in ages! Use the resulting space to push locally sourced and produced products, and yes I know that it certain area's of the country this could include cider, bitters and such like but tough! Along with the introduction of a nationally recognised system of age verification, such as only accepting passports, picture driving licences etc I could see this having a real effect!

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Dead Vulture

hmmm

Guess i'll have to just buy carton loads of mouthwash and get smashed on that. why should I be inconvienienced just because some body cant take their drink?

And what about sprouts I hate them, they definately should have a seperate store for them. reduces methane emissions too *nods*

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Jon

Out of Touch

It's not the supermarkets that lead to problems its clubs. Most people buy from supermarkets for home parties, the trouble in town centers tends to come from revelers out for the night.

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Anonymous Coward

lots of luck

The commonwealth of Pennsylvania has state-run liquor stores. Beer and perhaps wine are sold for off-premise consumption at bars, and at certain stores that sell by the case (24 containers) or more. The licensing process for restaurants is in some towns burdensome, to judge from the BYOB operations.

However, among the billboards I never fail to notice along the highways are those for law firms specializing in DUI (driving under the influence [of alcohol]) defense.

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Won't help the people who need help...

This just makes buying alcohol less convenient. The people who want to binge will still make the trip to the liquor store to buy what they need (perhaps they will buy more so they have to make the trip less often). This idea might help non-binge drinkers drink a little less, I know that if I have some beer at home I'll drink one of an evening, but if I don't have any I won't make a special trip to the store for it.

And as for 'dry' counties or states in the US - people just drive to the nearest 'wet' county and fill their car with bottles.. Again, it makes drinking less convenient but does not stop the behaviour.

People with an addiction (compulsion) will do whatever they have to in order to satisfy the addiction...

What will they think of next - banning food sales in supermarkets to help overweight people and binge eaters??

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Stop

Bored!

Teenagers did not and still do not drink because booze is cheap; they drink because they are bored! In my home town, there are no night-clubs, no cinema, no bowling or ice-skating - unless you get on the train to Stevenage or have a car to drive to Bedford, Cambridge or Milton Keynes. All of which costs and you cannot drive as a teenager! When someone tried to open a yoof-oriented "bar" (soft drinks only) in a neighbouring town, the NIMBYs all complained and the project failed.

Society only has itself to blame for teenage binge-drinkers!

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Ban food while you're at it

What about binge eaters? Maybe we should ban food from supermarkets too!

A more sensible idea might be to require all licenced premises to carry a fixed % of their shelf space to low/non-alcoholic beers & wine. And in the case of low/non-alcoholic beers & wine to be compelled to sell them at cost rather than hiking their prices.

It's just stupid that a six pack of non-alcoholic beer costs as much as the alcoholic variety and the supermarket gets to pocket the excise 18p duty on each bottle.

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Anonymous Coward

Spain 128 cents a bottle for a good wine

How do you explain the lack of binge drinking/violent behaviour in other countries where alcoholic drinks are much cheaper?

I blame alcohol fueled legislators. Too many Italian wines in Tuscany and too little nights out in a pub to know wtf their talking about.

Too many laws that emptied the streets of normal people at night. Too many attacks on teenagers. 'stop your antisocial noise or I'll turn on the antisocial noise machine to drive you away'.

Standing on a street? That's a crime now, 2 grand fine for not moving along when the officer asks you. But if you're lucky some dick in a control tower will bark a warning at you through a loud speaker first.

(From Council Loudspeaker): "Please keep the noise down or I will report you for antisocial behaviour. I SAID KEEP THE NOISE *DOWN*"

Thank Blair the text time you meet him in the street.

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Anonymous Coward

Won't stop street drunkenness

If you're buying alcohol from a supermarket along with significant other stuff (nibbles don't count) it's probably not going to result in you getting trolleyed on the High Street, more likely to see you sliding into a coma in front of late night telly.

If you're in a supermarket buying White Lightning, then the only difference between a supermarket and a single-purpose offie is that Asda is probably cheaper.

As a recipe to reduce casual at-home overconsumption of alcohol, it's probably a measure which could have short term effects until people switch their habits to a monthly trip to Majestic (Or Siansburys et al just open a "Drink Shop" on their existing properties). As an attempt to reduce on-street drunkenness it's a crock of pavement pizza.

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Boffin

Back to home brew then

So the price of booze rockets, it's harder to come by. Do they plan to ban the sale of yeast and sugar yet too? If not then it's back to brewing a few litres of supermarket apple juice with some sugar and yeast for my cider fix and dusting off my fermenting bins!

Bless 'em though for coming up with such unworkable impractical soundbites!

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it's a culture thing, not a drink thing

The original piece is not about supermarkets, it's about cheap booze, specifically with respect to young people.That's not the problem.

People from every nation get drunk.

The main difference is that when young brits get drunk they (according to the stereotypes) go around smashing things up and thumping people.

Contrast this to drunks from other countries who will either seduce each other, talk loudly or just fall asleep.

The problem is not the getting drunk - it's why do young brits cause so much trouble when they do it. That seems to be a cultural problem, with what people do when they lose their inhibitions, rather than a booze = violence issue, which is the way the newpapers with the small vocabularies are presenting it.

In other countries booze is *much* cheaper than in the UK (7 euros for a 1litre bottle of local brandy, for example) but you don't get the middle-class, affluent, cut-off-from-reality, sip-of-sherry-on-a-saturday-night types there saying it should be made more expensive.

Maybe people should start looking at the root-cause, cultural, issues, rather than merely hiding the problem with the simplistic idea of "more tax" to stop individuals doing things they disapprove of.

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IT Angle

See how well it worked for us..

Just visit Finland, Sweden or most of the Nordic countries to see how well, *cough* *cough* it worked for us.

Only beer and other mild drinks are available at supermarkets and anything stronger requires a visit to the government run monopoly outlets. Never stopped anyone from getting drunk, if you ask me...

Still, it won't hurt either.

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Happy

Well since I reside in KS

where the booze is in a separate shop I can state that it makes no difference whatever it's slightly less convenient, however we have far more liquor stores than we have supermarkets. No one is under served.

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Stop

What the real problem is

Where do you think kids get most of there booze from? It's the smaller shops and off licences where they can get away with it. I doubt you'll find many kids getting served in Tesco, Sainsburys or ASDA.

As for us adults, we're 'adults' and able to make decisions for ourselves, so but out Professor Nanny State - Thank you very much.

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Bring back Off-licences I say

Since I don't really drink here is what I think.

Only sell alcohol in off licenses.

Off-Licenses should close at 8pm

All transactions to be videoed so it can be used as evedence.

Off-licenses that sell to underage people should have their license revoked automatically for a month.

I think thats draconian enough for the moment.

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Paris Hilton

Higher Prices Work

They've got a similar system down under. I can't say I'm particularly bothered where I get my booze from, in fact if it means that my local offie gets a higher volume of sales and so can afford to bulk-buy and discount, it'll save me a trudge to Mr Sainsbury's establishment.

The comments about the price of alcohol having an impact on drinking levels are true though... many London clubs have a penchant for charging £4 for a 275/330ml bottle of beer... at that price it's impossible to drink yourself silly.

Only problem is that if a government tried imposing that kind of price across the country, it wouldn't be long before cross-channel traffic doubled with vans laden with "booze for the family wedding, honest guvn'r." And there'd probably be a popular uprising.

Paris, because she knows how to handle her drink

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Unhappy

I think they are missing the point

The "Bargain Booze" shop (one in every shit hole) not far from my parents house, is also the Post Office and convience store.

So to save pushing the prams to far on the way, to the school, to meet the fathers of the kids, they can pick up the giro, get the booze and fags and stuff their faces on cold pizza.

Lets have more of these "non-supermaket" outlets, they are the way forward!

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Anonymous Coward

This will make a difference how?

I buy most of my booze in the corner store just across the road. Saves lugging it back from Morrisons. Yes, its a whole quid cheaper in Morrisons, but I have better things than beer to lug home from there.

Will it cause me to change my drinking habits? Errrm - nope.

Regards

Neil

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Coat

Isn't this what they do in Sweden & Norway?

In Sweden you have to go to the Systembolaget and get a ticket to enable you to go back later and buy the booze (at eye-watering prices). Still see people lying insensible in the gutters though...

Glad I brew my own lol.

Mine's the polar explorer's coat with a pocketful of Bolaget tickets.

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Supermarkets seem a safer bet to me

I would rather got to a supermarkets selling also booze than an in town offie selling only booze. At least I am less likely to be accosted by the hovering yoofs outside crying, "get us some beer mista or I will stick ya."

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Dead Vulture

How about developing a cafe culture?

I much prefer the European cafe culture approach.. even at my local Irish pub in Germany, there's table service and individual payment.. everybody can drink at their own pace, order what they want, and enjoy themselves. Getting into rounds of drinks leads to people drinking far more than that should, and makes responsible service of alcohol obligations a joke.

Of course, getting Brits out of their binge drinking habits may prove a bit more challenging..

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Ban booze in supermarkets, says health adviser...

Go f*ck yourself, says drinking public.

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Ian

Wont do anything for underage drinking though

Supermarkets are the ones that actually do enforce age checks, I've seen a 47yr old ID'd at ASDA before because they've been told to ID everyone!

It's the dodgy little off-licenses, which whilst having an interesting amount of quaintness and nostalgic value are also the primary places get hold hold of alcohol.

It may help binge drinking by adults who are legally allowed to drink however and whilst I'd love to agree that they should be able to make their own decisions, I struggle to agree with it when it's my tax money they're burning when they end up in hospital as a result!

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Silver badge

Not just UK problem

Here in the Netherlands, there is a serious increase in what is known as coma-drinking: kids (as young as 11-13 years old) litterally drinking themselves into a coma. There has been something like a six-fold increase in incidents in recent years. So it is not "just" binge drinking and being loud/violent, it is real damage to their health. I do not think higher prices help. I know that in Finland, but also here in NL, people "pre-load" themselves with booze before going out. Something should be done, but knee-jerk reactions are not the way forward.

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you what ?

Anyway, if alcohol was sold "at different outlets" then we'd all be slagged off by the Greens for driving there. So I am helping to contain global warming by buying my booze along with the weekly shop, and therefore cutting my CO2 emissions. I Thankyou.

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Paris Hilton

and the IT or Paris Hilton angles are?

complete lack of IT related material, and the lovely Paris wouldn't demean herself by shopping in Lidl or Netto, screaming at Beyonce to get Tyson back in his pram.

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I am all for the Australian version...

... the drive through bottle shop. Fantastic idea. Roll through a tin shed and let somebody else load up the "ute," and don't forget the sweet sherry for the sheilas. All beer should be sold this way.

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Paris Hilton

A solution

It's simple. Restrict people from doing something and when they do inevitably do it, they'll go hell for leather. It's true throughout human nature whether it's beer, sex/porn, bittorrent downloading, etc.

Introducing drink responsibly from an early age leads to moderation. Ban it, make it difficult to obtain and when they do, regardless of age, they'll go mad.

That is, unless you actually are a tosser and then you just need locking up.

Paris, because she's ace when she's wankered.

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Happy

Addressing the symptoms not the problem?

The binge drinking problem isn't caused by the availability of cheap booze to under-age kids, but that we don't provide a controlled environment for adolescents/young adults to familiarise themselves with alcohol.

Why not enforce or even raise the existing age limit for supermarket/off-licence sales but allow 16 year-olds to drink on licenced premises? Pub prices will limit how many drinks they will be able to afford, the drinks industry will effectively pay for providing a secure environment and the kids will have somewhere more interesting to hang round instead of scaring old ladies at bus stops.

We could even limit them to drinking real ale...

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Boffin

Not as bad as you seem to think

In Finland, alcohol was (until a couple of years ago) a state-run monopoly, a chain of off-licenses imaginatively called "Alko". Now that chain of stores has been privatised but it's still effectively a monopoly - there's no competition. All strong alcohol is available only through those stores.

The only things sold outside of those Alko stores is in the supermarkets, and that only covers any sorts of beer with less than 5.2% alcohol content; any wines, whiskies, vodka, export beers and so forth are exclusively in the Alkos.

While I agree that shopping for wine along with food is still a good idea, to match them together, the segregation of food and alcohol isn't a terribly bad thing to live with and as the two are generally located near to each other, it's not much of a hassle either. I think you're all just terribly lazy.

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Paris Hilton

Extend the licensing idea

Everybody at birth should be issued with a biometric card containing so many LUs "Liver Units". Each time you purchase alcohol your card would be debited a certain number of units until you had used all your entitlement to alcohol. Possibly a person could, in this way,be restricted from guzzling more than a certain amount each week thus cutting binge drinking. As for teetotalers, there could be a LU trading scheme, whereby they could sell their unwanted LUs to us seasoned heavy drinkers. Everyone's a winner! Poor homeless drinkers without the moolah to purchase extra LUs wouldn't be able to get enough drink to make them ill - suddenly there would be a much better class of drunk...

Paris - because she understands

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Joke

@DrXym

Non-alcoholic booze?! Good Lord, man- have you heard yourself lately?!

Ban alcopops- high sugar content + lowered inhibitions + increased aggression / adrenaline = hyperactive, inhibitionless(?) drunks screaming, running about and generally being twuntish.

Alcopops should be banned, and the cheap drain-cleaner (Rachmaninoff Vodka, looking at you!) drinks should be banned as they're just hangover-in-a-bottle material. Plus I've found they make me more aggressive whereas a good quality drink won't.

Or they could try banning kids from drinking- that might work! :P

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Anonymous Coward

Gimme an off-license!!!

To think that the concept of the off-license ever went away is beyond me. Bring it back. At least people in off-licenses tend to be a little bit more cynical and mistrusting and check ID... And that's the ideal place to employ a mosquito thing, even if it would kill me having to go in to buy my favourite tipple.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bored!

You're not from Hitchin or Letchworth, are you? :-)

Stevenage is a dump. But it's the only dump Letchworth or Hitchin have for a night-life...

:-)

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Lower the age limit...

"Where do you think kids get most of there booze from? It's the smaller shops and off licences where they can get away with it. I doubt you'll find many kids getting served in Tesco, Sainsburys or ASDA."

Exactly the opposite in fact... The smaller places can't afford the fines. And it would be the older legal friends who buy it. Unless we're in the pub where we can get served pretty much anywhere no problem.

What does need to be done is LOWER the age (only on beer mind), just changing where you get it won't make a difference to the people who really have a problem with drink. It sounds counter intuitive to lower the age but it would work(in time, it wouldn't be a quick fix for society). When the french kids came over for the exchange my school runs many of them got drunk for the first time, despite being able to buy beer at 16. They were used to having the odd beer with lunch or a glass of wine at dinner while they were younger. To them alcohol wasn't anything special, they don't go out getting ratassed every night.

Also i've seen a number of people post that youths do stupid things when drunk. It's just plain untrue, yes it happens a bit but no where near as much as with "adults". Don't believe everything you read in the papers...

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Joke

More restrictions on the sale of alcohol are needed

They work so very well at reducing drunkenness in Scotland after all.

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Black Helicopters

What A Bunch Of Sh1t

This is the same puile of horse shit that I'm realising is the product of an administration that has no idea about people at all...

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Paris Hilton

The prof

Prof Le Grand also recently proposed a smoking ‘licence’, whereby the already highly-taxed smokers among us would have to pay a nominal fee (I believe £10 as reported in various places) but go through administrative hell to obtain a little card allowing the right to smoke.

The idea wasn’t to raise money (the administration costs would probably negate any real profit from the scheme) but would deter people from smoking through a

Ironically, he termed this ‘liberal paternalism’… He’s the chair of a left-leaning health think-tank, which explains a lot. And it's open to debate as to how much real influence he has.

Paris? Because even she would have more sense…

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Flame

The govt wants to get kill the "working class"

Everything points to it.

The majority of those who smoke are working class. Those who will be most affected by a hike in booze prices are the working class. In fact, this "Labour" govt is, in may ways, specificaly discriminating against the generaly-lower-paid working class. Just look at the tax changes coming in April - someone working full time on minimum wage with no dependants will be approximately £60 worse off.

Also, most people who binge drink do so out in bars/clubs. Most people who buy drink in supermarkets are doing so in order to have a quite drink on a night, or to throw a party at home, where most people are at a friends house and dont cause trouble coz they dont want to wreck the friends house.

As for kids getting drunk, what they need to do is enforce the law. And providing some other entertainment for the kids would be good. Also, making the kids parents responsible, and charging them with criminal offences if their kids are out of controll.

The guy who made this report wants shooting.

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Happy

Dear Bored of Hitchin!

No, worse: Biggleswade!

OT: I was once stopped by the local "sherrif" for hooning around in my car. I was told I should know better when aged over 30 (he was just pissed as he was too young to afford the insurance on a group 18 sports-car) and "Why wasn't I up the pub?". The concept of being out in the fresh-air, chatting to friends on CB, then burning off 'excess' petrol didn't make sense to them. I tried to explain that petrol was cheaper than Beer and you couldn't drink and drive, but I'd used up his quota of long words and his brain short-circuited!

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Coat

I see a pattern

Another one, more sinister.

This "stop selling booze in the supermarket" is just to distract the masses.

Check out these seemingly unrelated facts

a) Downgrade cannabis

b) Liberalise opening hours for pubs

c) Trash the NHS and make it the laughing stock of the world

d) I = P * A * T (or whatever - meaning we need a human cull to save the planet)

Because of (a) and (b), people are so stoned/drunk to notice (c), which, with its superbug infestation will finish off what (a) and (b) couldn't achieve, thereby reducing the population (for controlling CO2 emissions or whatever) - which is the objective of (d).

People, you've been warned.

Mine's the one with crusty layer of pizza and beer from last night out... Cheers.

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he who drinks

he who drinks gets drunk

he who gets drunk falls asleep

he who falls asleep does not sin

he who does not sin goes to heaven

so let us all drink and go to heaven.

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Ed
IT Angle

State Run Booze outlets suck...

"that the "certain states" here in the United States that restrict the sale of adult beverages are generally the butt of every hick joke."

What, you mean the vast majority of them? I can't think of any state that doesn't restrict the sale of alcohol somehow. Except maybe Texas where you have drive thru liquor and ammo stores...

Anyway, in North Carolina everything is directly controlled by the state. You can only buy hard liquor at state run stores, and they enforce a monopoly on everything. That means if a particular beer isn't on the "state approved" list then you can't buy it anywhere, because there's no assigned distributor. It means we pay way more for our drinks than Georgia (I've lived there as well).

Don't even get me started on South Carolina, where you can only get hard liquor in mini bottles. Try getting a long island iced tea there...

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I still buy from the off-licence

In fact it's one of the few off-licences listed in the CAMRA good beer guide (http://www.bittervirtue.co.uk). It's been a long time since I've ever brought any generic mass marketed rubbish they sell by the 24 pack in supermarkets since I now have a massive choice of real ales and imported beers from around the world.

But then it seems a lot of people don't care what they're drinking as long as it 'get's em pished'.

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