Shake it like a Polaroid picture and strengthen the core with this week's Grobby.
News: UK Bans Cheap Alcohol to Reduce Binge Drinking
Booze hounds across the pond, be forewarned! After nearly a year of planning, British Prime Minister David Cameron finally unveiled a law that will prohibit the sale of cheap alcohol. After much debate, Cameron’s cabinet decided to set a price floor of 45 pence per alcohol unit. While most mid- and high-end brands already meet the new standards, bargain supermarket-brand drinks will face significant price increases. The alcohol-by-volume percentage and the total volume determine the number of alcohol units in any given beverage. For example, an average pint glass of beer contains 2 units of alcohol, so it would be illegal to sell it for less than 90 pence.
The law is part of a greater effort to curb binge drinking in Great Britain, where alcohol-related health problems cost the National Health Service 2.7 billion pounds (aka 4.3 billion dollars) a year. Cameron has dubbed Britain’s love of liquor a “scandal,” and he hopes eliminating booze that’s cheaper than water will help reduce alcohol abuse around the country.
Why It Matters
Cameron’s measures seem positively draconian to some, but the United Kingdom could have a legit drinking problem. Alcohol consumption in Europe is shrinking in general, but binge alcohol consumption is still prevalent in Britain. Notably, people tend to drink heavily at home rather than in pubs, where beer, wine, and liquor are much pricier. Last year, Cameron’s administration reported 1 million alcohol-related violent crimes and 1.2 million alcohol-induced hospital admissions. It’s a significant number, given the UK’s total population of 63 million lads and lassies. Between destructive violence and health issues, Britain’s tendency to overindulge at the pub is proving both dangerous and expensive.
Can We Trust It?
Critics have already begun protesting that Cameron’s plan will not reduce binge drinking and will harm the economy. The main argument is that raising prices on alcohol will discourage logical moderate drinkers, but the ban won’t affect people who hit the bars for psychological or social reasons. Members of trade organizations, like the Wine and Spirits Trade Association, have already condemned the law as unfair and ineffective. Economists at the Adam Smith Institute, a London-based think tank, claim the cheap alcohol ban will create a black market and contribute to nationwide poverty as less well-to-do drinkers shell out for their daily fix.
So, will Cameron’s unpopular crusade actually do some good, or just cause anarchy in the UK? It's doubtful a tax or ban can end Britain’s drinking problem once and for all, but it might be a drop in the bucket. Making alcohol less accessible will certainly reduce the amount of overall intoxication happening any given day. As we saw with Four Loko a few years ago, a full-on ban can’t fix the overall problem, but it certainly can de-incentivize certain habits. Binge drinking is a social dilemma in the United Kingdom as well as the United States, and the government must focus on health education and changing cultural norms to fix it.
Do you think David Cameron's ban on cheap alcohol will help reduce binge drinking? Should the U.S. adopt a similar law? Join the discussion in the comments below or tweet the author at @SophBreene.
Comments Leave a comment
It's an unlawful proposal designed to appease puritans in spite of none of the evidence justifying it.
The financial argument doesn't hold water; alcohol duty already covers the most extreme estimates of health costs more than four times over and if it didn't, the answer would be to increase alcohol duty so that the revenue goes to the state, not to fix a minimum price so the increase goes to the seller.
Similarly, the "binge drinking epidemic" hysteria doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Alcohol consumption has actually been falling.
It's a poorly designed solution to a non-existent problem. Thankfully, as it is illegal under EU law, if it does ever make it in to effect, it will not last long.
David Cameron's ban on cheap alcohol is, I believe, an inaffective way to deal with a larger psychological problem. Binge drinking is a practice that occurs all over the world and banning companies from producing affordable products will ultimately hinder the alcohol production industy.
We have found this even with things such as illegal and expensive drugs. People who want to use them and engage in these activities will find a way to do so. Highering the prices of something that is legal in our countries will possibly bring on further economic problems, not only for businesses but also for the people who continue to purchase.
It's a good information to hear. Alcohol is harmful for our health and cause of many diseases. So, it should be banned in many pubs or bars or reduce the quantity. Duplicate alcohol also harms our bones.