Thursday, September 14, 2006

Get your hands off my pint!

Tom with pintVery interesting to see that the UK government's advisory committee on the misuse of drugs has produced a strategy to reduce tobacco and alcohol use, especially amongst under-25s. They recommend lower blood alcohol limits for younger drivers, stronger enforcement of age restrictions, higher taxes and banning the marketing of alcohol to teenagers.

American readers would find UK "enforcement" of age limits a joke, with the majority of 16 and 17 year olds drinking regularly. To be honest, I see little harm in that. It would be more productive to enforce the laws against serving more alcohol to obviously drunk customers in pubs.

Higher taxation of alcohol and tobacco is both impractical and objectionable. It would just further damage off licences and pubs by encouraging the smuggling of cheaper booze and fags from the continent, which is almost impossible to stop given EU single market rules. And taxing goods beyond the cost of externalities such as higher healthcare and policing costs is as sure a restriction on liberty as Prohibition. Reassuringly for pub fans like myself, it would be political suicide for a dour Scotsman like Gordon Brown to be seen as a killjoy cracking down on the pleasures of the masses :)

The best recommendation from the committee is instead practical and admirable:

Abandon attempts to introduce sniffer dogs and drug testing into schools as their impact on pupil-school trust is not offset by the potential gains.

Amen to that!

1 comment:

lil Johnny said...

My mom said I can't drink or smoke .But one time we were at my cousins wedding and my mom and dad got drunk so I went around and drank everyones half empt drinks and got sick.