back to article Health pros: Alcohol is EVIL – raise its price, ban its ads

A broad coalition of UK health organizations has released a report detailing the evils of demon rum (and whisky, vodka, brandy, gin, lager, ale, wine, et al.), and calling for a series of government actions to suppress its use, including sharply increased pricing and a ban on alcohol advertising and sponsorships. "In …

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Have they even MET a problem drinker?

It's a weather problem, see previous post

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Re: Have they even MET a problem drinker?

You might be on to something there.

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Anonymous Coward

All Methodists?

Puritanism, and the removal of fun, have been a key theme of a number of groups in the UK. Their motivation is a Methodist-like zeal to prevent drinking.

It's been tried before, and failed. Britain had ridiculous pub hours, resulting in everyone going to bed by 10:30.

And Scotland banned drinking on Sunday. Now there is (and always has been) a lot of youth drinking. It seems to be tied to youth unemployment rates, so maybe the answer is to find jobs, or even conscription.

Of course, hardly anyone is a serious Christian anymore, so pandering to a tiny minority of them isn't likely to get many votes. Any politician who bows to the vociferous pressure may find that more liberal candidates supersede them.

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Re: All Methodists?

Methodist's are allowed to drink. That wasn't the reason I left them

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Trollface

Re: All Methodists?

Jesus was a binge drinker.

I mean, water to wine.

FFS!

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Anonymous Coward

Would the ban be on products or the company?

I can see how they could ban the promotion/sponsorship of a particular beer/alcoholic drink etc, but what if the company (Carling, let's say) also produces non-alcohol products, e.g. zero alcohol beer?

Most alcohol sponsorship I see is for the company/brand (carling cup, etc) and not a specific drink - so would they be banned because one (or more) of their products is alcoholic?

If so, would this translate to banning a chocolate manufacturer from advertising/sponsoring because they produce chocolate liquers, or would the company have to produce a certain percentage of non-alcohol products in order to get past the ban?

PS. I don't know the answer but can see issues and or work arounds.

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Re: Would the ban be on products or the company?

Think that would depend on what would be considered their core business. Otherwise you would see Benson & Hedges moving into the aftershave market and advertising that instead.

As Sainsburys sell their own wine would this mean a ban on all their adverts? To argue that the producer/name on the label of nearly 30% of what occupies their wine shelves is not a major producer may be hard for them to do. It could be interesting to see the how that one played out.

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Re: Would the ban be on products or the company?

In Canada, we closed the loophole when companies that made cigarettes tried sponsoring cultural events with their company names. Presumably, any company that made any alcoholic beverage would be totally banned from using any form of advertising whatsoever - so if you make wine, and also make grape juice, or chocolates, then you would no longer be able to advertise your grape juice or chocolates. If you want to advertise those products, stop making wine. Simple - and leaves no back door, no loopholes.

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Unhappy

You may take my beer...

... when you prise it from my cold dead hands.

(Definitely a frowny-face.)

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Happy

Re: You may take my beer...

"... when you prise it from my cold dead hands.

Homer Simpson, freedom fighter.

Hahahahahahahahahaha

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Happy

I am Drunk!

Hey I just got home and cooked food for my beloved and I am very drunk! 50p a unit is no problem to me or my friends unless you are going to reduce the price to that?

Happy Geordie!

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Anonymous Coward

Parliament?

If the price rises are legislated, I wonder what the net effect will be in the dozens of bars within the sacred precincts of Parliament? No doubt our glorious MPs and Cronies will put their hands in their pockets along with all the rest of us?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

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Unhappy

Re: Parliament?

You mean the same bars where smoking is still allowed?

Phil.

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The unintended consequence of raising the price might be that people start stealing it. The only part I agree with is reducing the drink-drive limit.

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MJI
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The drink drive limit is fine

It is people drinking a lot more who are the issue

The lower limit countries also have lower punishments

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Pint

...the horror thought that someone, somewhere maybe enjoying themselves......

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Sil

Absolutely not exxagerated

Just love those estimates directly coming out of their a.., just like poor Elon Musk and his $100m newspaper article.

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Tyrrany

If we are to be mothered, mother must know best. . . . In every age the men who want us under their thumb, if they have any sense, will put forward the particular pretension which the hopes and fears of that age render most potent. They ‘cash in.’ It has been magic, it has been Christianity. Now it will certainly be science. . . . Let us not be deceived by phrases about ‘Man taking charge of his own destiny.’ All that can really happen is that some men will take charge of the destiny of others. . . . The more completely we are planned the more powerful they will be.

. . . .

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.

—C. S. Lewis, God in the Dock

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Re: Tyrrany

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.

—C. S. Lewis, God in the Dock"

One for the bucket list of books to read methinks.

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Pint

The Death of the British Pub

The main loser in the supermarkets' alcohol price wars has been the glorious traditional pub.

When I was first introduced to pub culture there was no difference in the cost of beer between the pub and the off-licence. If you wanted to buy beer at our local off-licence, it was usually a choice between bottles of Double Diamond or cans of Long Life, or if you were heading to a party, Watneys' Party Seven.

Today most pubs in the UK are owned by pub companies rather than brewers, and they are, by and large, property businesses, with beer provisioning coming second. As a retired person, I really can't afford to go out that often, and rely on supermarkets to deliver interesting bottles of ale.

I don't know what the average cost of a pub pint is now, but on my weekly outing to the pub quiz, my pint of Sam Smith's is £1.80. This is way below anywhere else.

One of the reasons the price is comparatively low is that it is a tied pub, which the Beer Orders legislation sought to to reduce the number of. Pubs provide a controlled atmosphere where excessive drinking can be regulated ('You're Barred!'). Encourage the social drinking fostered by pub culture financially and you are on the the way to moderated dring.

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The Scottish position

The AC above is incorrect about Scotland banning Sunday drinking - what we did was invent the 'Bona-fide Traveller' and provided a steady income for bus hire companies. You had to travel more than three miles from where you lived to be considered 'Bona-fide' ! You were not allowed to drink within three miles of your home.

The debate about mininum pricing has raged longer here than elsewhere in the UK. While personally I am in two minds about it, I agree with others above that it should be done through taxation rather than making retailers set a mininum price. If it is to happen, I would rather see any increased take going to the public coffers than to those of TESCO, ASDA etc.

For myself, I am inclined to agree with Stacy of Holland, above. There is a lot of very good beer brewed in the UK, but I am still glad that I manage to get to Belgium a couple of times a year.

Chris Cosgrove

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Anonymous Coward

There's a reason they have to use Min Pricing in Scotland

Simply that control of Duty is at Westminster, Holyrood isn't allowed to raise duty.

Publicans actually welcome this as a way of trying to slow down the demise of pubs, but the point many posters either don't know, or are choosing to ignore, is that min pricing, restricted advertising are only two of the measures being taken.

We do have a binge "Drink until you collapse in a taxi" culture in the UK, it's not healthy in so many ways.

Now, the "mediterranean model" where booze is seen as no great thing would be nice, but it's not even true for there. I have a pal from the hinterlands of the south of Spain (wee bit north of Huelva) and I know that the guys there have the same "If you are not completely ratted then your not a real man" attitude we have here.

Reducing consumption of alcohol, particularly in the young, and particularly if we can delay it in the young, is no bad thing.

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Re: There's a reason they have to use Min Pricing in Scotland

Do we really have a "drink until you collapse in a taxi" culture or do we have a minority who make it seem as such?

I drink in local hostelry's on a regular basis, the number of people I see in the above mentioned state is minimal. I'm aware there are other areas of the city (Edinburgh) where this is more of a problem, which suggests it's a clientele specific problem and not a cultural problem.

There are some people who cannot go to the pub and *not* get completely bladdered, it seems to be their way, but that isn't culture, that's personal.

This is legislation based on assumption - the assumption is that everyone is a border-line alcoholic, otherwise there is no possible way pricing would make any large scale impact on the problem.

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Bronze badge

Laws of Supply and Demand; what bunk

Read Steve Keen, he thoroughly demolishes the Neo-Classicals' BS laws of Supply and Demand.

Peoples behavior is not linear and can be counter intuitive; price rises can even boost demand!

Look at cigarette smokers, how has price affected them?

This is the Hegelian Dialectic BS in action, look for the causes e.g.

* some (probably government funded) group starts a scare to trigger a campaign for the government, to "do something", so that the government can make fake a solution, but never a genuine fix!

* government taxation (aka robbery from people and business, shrinking moral and jobs)

* government regulation (shrinking jobs and stifling productive businesses, so shrinking moral),

* government protected big corporations (stopping small business growing and replacing these zombies),

* government banned less harmful plant extracts (tarred as drugs), rather than ending support for harmful pharmaceuticals and dangerous artificial food additives (both made by big business)

which can make alcohol more harmful!

etc.

See a pattern here? Yes, government.

Read Rothbard to get a solution.

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Re: Laws of Supply and Demand; what bunk

Look at cigarette smokers, how has price affected them?

down 50% in 20 odd years????

they cant all have died (well i haven't...<cough cough cough> yet)

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FAIL

No, really?

Alcohol is bad? Ya don't say? You had to do a whole study to figure that out?

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Pint

I find that excess alcohol causes AIDS and HIV (Alcohol Induced Dizziness and Sickness / Heineken Induced Vomiting) .

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Anonymous Coward

Heineken Induced Vomiting doesn't need excess alcohol, I find one sip of that swill enough to make me sick....

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This post has been deleted by its author

cost of alcohol... £7.5bn for Scotland

Or about a pound a year per head. Cheaper than a deep fried mars bar.

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FAIL

Re: cost of alcohol... £7.5bn for Scotland

I wasn't aware that the entire worlds population lived in Scotland ??

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Prohibition Warm-ups

Unlike the common perception the Abstinence Fairy did not just wing in and curse the United States with Prohibition. Prohibition was the culmination of a long and misguided movement (the Temperance Movement) that proposed many of the things proposed in the article until they finally managed to get Prohibition.

Prohibition gave the United States an unprecedented level of violent crime, the classic "italian era" of organized crime, criminalized untold thousands of otherwise law abiding persons and led to the only instance of a constitutional amendment being repealed. Sort of like the modern "War Against Drugs" though that comes sans the constitutional nonsense.

Look at the history of the United States and in this one instance cry out "GOD! Let's not get even CLOSE do that level of self-destructive madness!!" and do something else. There are an awful lot of choices...

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Happy

Re: Prohibition Warm-ups

"Look at the history of the United States and in this one instance cry out "GOD! Let's not get even CLOSE do that level of self-destructive madness!!" and do something else. There are an awful lot of choices..."

Amen to that brother.

But RTFA first eh?

It's about banning advertising not alcohol.

The British govt is not quite that stupid.

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Devil

Re: Prohibition Warm-ups (Yes, all governments are THAT STUPID)

Listen up fools,

It only BEGINS with small incremental changes that no one can really object to ("Just advertising"), then you get the New World Carrie Nations speaking up on their soapboxes (blogs, letters to the editors, sermons etc), then some politician gets a "bright idea" to come up with a "feel good" bill (that no one can object to) and then that get's amended to ban everything everwhere and gets into your pants as well.

When they ban advertising, they are banning free commerce and free speech.

If you give the little fuckers an inch, they take a mile everytime.

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Vic

Re: Prohibition Warm-ups

> The British govt is not quite that stupid.

[Citation needed]

Vic.

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What a load of utter hyperbolic shite. Alcohol in moderation does no harm whatsoever and in many cases is beneficial. That's established. Why are these clowns coming along and trying to frame it as the likely cause of the apocalypse? It does damage to families, does it? Alcoholism causes all the things they're scaremongering about and that's a different issue altogether. Unless they're trying to imply that raising the price and halt advertising is the cure for alcoholism? Which would be on an even keel with the laughable statement they're already trying to make.

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Westminster Bars

Let's see the MPs lead by example and remove the subsidy from the bars in Westminster.

And the EU stop the subsidised Champagne they have for themselves.

And stop serving £100+ bottles of wine at various parliamentary junkets.

Yeah - like that will happen. It'll be one rule for them, and one rule for us. As always.

There's a reason Osbourne wants mega-corporates to pay 5% tax (or less) and high street shops to pay 30%. His friends don't run high street shops.

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Who didn't see this coming?

Since the smoking ban, and with the advent of (1) OTC nicotine replacement therapy, (2) cheap imported tobacco and (3) homegrown cannabis that can be smoked "neat" without tobacco, an important revenue stream for the government has been closed down. This means they are going to have to get their money somewhere else, somehow.

Many people drink alcohol, and everybody eats .....

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Pint

A "problem" that doesn't need solving

Alcohol consumption in the UK is already in year on year decline (a function of an ageing population and increased health awareness) and has been for nearly a decade, and the UK already has the highest alcohol duties in Europe (even more than Scandinavia now). So the "problem" is actually that people aren't drinking enough; UKGov could do with the money.

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FAIL

nanny state

FFS, can't they leave anything alone?

I drink, my wife drinks, but because my parents taught me how to drink responsibly there is no problem in my family caused by drink...

bloody government trying to control everything through tax... its expensive enough as it is!!

I sugest that when there is criminal damage, police are called, hospitalisation etc.. caused by excessive drink, then charge the bloody drinker directly! if they can afford to get pissed in todays world, then charge them weekly until they pay back the charged, maybe then people will think..

I am fed up of the average drinker being bundled in with these binge drinkers!

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alcohol is a shit drug

if the government was that concerned they could legalize weed. many of these people just want an altered state of mind all day for gods sake weed is the safest way to do that. but since its not legal, we will turn to the strong lagers and cheap hooch. hahaha can you imagine how little of a diference it would make if a third of the can said "u will die liver cancer" well shit. im already contemplating death anyway - i want to go out by rush hour train on a friday afternoon in london. thats my ambition in life. for gods sake let me just have that.

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Fight this to the death

Fight this... fight to get the funding from these do-gooder organizations removed. Never get manipulated into donating money, convince others not to, and when it comes to taxpayer money, vote against it and be loud about it.

You don't want your country to become like Canada where booze is approaching $50 bucks a bottle (by the time you pay all the taxes), beer is $45 a case and cigarettes are $13 a package.

You can't even drive anymore... you get extra judicial punishment at the road side for having 0.05 BAC and it's not even against the law. You don't get charged with anything, you get your vehicle impounded (and have to pay large to get it out) and a 7 day roadside license suspension. Cops were given those powers to use their discretion, for certain circumstances where their hands might have been tied, but they don't. All because of lobby groups like "Mothers Against Drunk Driving". I too am against actual "drunk driving" or even truly impaired driving, but these people are ridiculous and their propaganda influences people.

This is where it starts, folks. Nip it in the bud before it gets worse, and spreads. All kinds of self righteous twats will come out of the woodword once these things gain momentum.

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Pint

My beer?

...FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS!!!!

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Pint

Proff Nutt

Put Proff Nutt in charge of implementing this and his other suggestions and I'll go along with it...

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Banning advertising works. It was done here for a few years and drove down alcohol abuse considerably. But pushing this legal drug is, of course, a business; and the businesses were not happy with political interference in their right to sell as much alcoholic beverages as possible. Now we have prolific advertising, most sponsorship of sport is done by the alcohol industry, and they have 'alcopop' drinks targeting younger demographics.

Pricing is probably irrelevant, and would simply be yet another regressive tax. Price sensitivity to illegal drugs is minor, so I see no reason why legal drugs would differ.

While they're at it, how about banning ALL advertising? Think about how much of society's resources are wasted in trying to convince people to buy stuff that they don't need or want.

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Unhappy

£6.50 pints - doesn't seem to have had any impact

In Perth, Aus, pints are routinely >$10 (£6.5) and we have almost identical headlines on binge-drinking, excessive consumption, epidemic of violence, etc, etc

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Unhappy

Re: £6.50 pints - doesn't seem to have had any impact

$10 is cheap, have you tried the Belgian Beer joint in Murray St?

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Anonymous Coward

Hahahahahahahahahaha

As a smoker who watched them come for my vice, I'm sitting here laughing at all you drinkers who are suddenly discovering the truth about how once you let them start interfering in what individuals can do, you're fucked, cause eventually they'll come for yours too.

My vice is taxed to death, but yours costs the country far more than mine ever has. I hope they right that wrong.

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Re: Hahahahahahahahahaha

"My vice is taxed to death, but yours costs the country far more than mine ever has."

Do you have a source for that? I'm going from DoHA figures, admittedly Australian, that show a slightly different picture:

http://www.health.gov.au/internet/drugstrategy/publishing.nsf/Content/34F55AF632F67B70CA2573F60005D42B/$File/mono64.pdf

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