British Doctors want more Alcohol Regulations to reduce the Cost of Alcohol Misuse

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 3rd, 2013

Week in Review

Early Americans really had a drinking problem.  Some drank so heavily that they had to crawl home on their hands and knees after a night of drinking in the tavern.  Of course that was to be expected.  For we came from British stock.  Who apparently have a penchant for drinking to great excess (see Doctors: urgent action on alcohol needed by Denis Campbell posted 2/28/2013 on the guardian).

Doctors’ leaders want tough action to limit the sale and promotion of alcohol, including cigarette-style graphic warnings and an end to drinks firms sponsoring sport, to tackle the growing toll of drink-related problems.

A coalition of medical organisations, including those representing GPs, A&E doctors and surgeons, urges ministers in a new report to implement an array of radical measures to reduce the £55bn annual cost of alcohol misuse…

Sir Ian Gilmore, the AHA’s chair, said action was especially urgent given that UK teenagers drink much more than the European average…

But the Department of Health said: “Cigarette-style health warnings are not applicable to alcohol. All levels of smoking are bad for your health, but the same cannot be said for alcohol consumption.”

Yes, UK teenagers have a drinking problem.  Requiring them to spend £55bn ($82.72 billion US) annually due to alcohol misuse.  Which they want to reduce with higher minimum prices, more graphic labeling and lower legal blood-alcohol amounts while driving.  But it’s the labeling that I find most interesting.  For we label our cigarettes in the U.S. with dire warnings about what will happen to you if you smoke.  But teenagers don’t care.  Why?  Because smoking looks cool.  Their Hollywood icons smoke in their favorite movies.  As do their music icons.  And nothing looks cooler to a teenager than a guy playing a low-slung guitar with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth.  So teenagers want to smoke.  Because it makes them look cool.  And grown up.  Despite the horrific labeling on the packaging.

So is labeling on alcohol going to do any good?  When even teenagers know that all smoking is bad for you but not necessarily all drinking?  For their parents may have a drink after work.  A bottle of wine with their dinner.  And they seem to be just fine.  So teenagers aren’t going to worry that much about drinking.  And they may not worry that much about smoking anymore.  For even though we say all smoking is bad for you two states have decriminalized marijuana.  And you smoke that.  Something that many teenagers really enjoy.  And marijuana cigarettes don’t have filters.  All of that smoke goes right into your lungs.  Teenagers know this.  And if two states say that’s okay for you then maybe cigarette smoking isn’t really that bad for you.  After all smoking regular cigarettes isn’t as damaging as smoking marijuana.  Where a lot of smoke, soot and ash make it into your lungs.  Stuff that a filter in a regular cigarette filters out.

Sure, to a wise adult this doesn’t make any sense.  But to a teenager who wants to look cool and grown up it makes a lot of sense.  For teenagers can rationalize away any risky or harmful behavior if it’s something they enjoy.  Or makes them look cool and grown up.

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