Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Brits get tough on alcohol

A proposed code of behaviour regarding the sale of alcohol in the United Kingdom could see offers of free drinks for women banned and restrictions introduced on pub "happy hours".

The draft industry code has been sent to bar and restaurant owners and suggests that offering free alcohol to women should be banned and that wine should be served in glasses with marked measures.

The new proposals being considered by the government will not be popular with the drinks industry and licensees have reacted angrily to the prospect of further regulation.

They say given the current economic situation, a more restrictive code is as necessary as a "hole in the head" and have accused the government of failing to support businesses.

The British Beer & Pub Association says as many as five pubs a day are closing and the current Licensing Act already has the power to act against any of the country's venues that were causing problems.

The draft code aims to reduce public drunkenness and its associated health and social problems, by encouraging people to drink sensibly - other initiatives under consideration include the compulsory display of health warnings wherever alcohol is sold, curbs on free wine, whisky and beer tastings and a ban on drinking games.

According to the Home Office and the Department of Health the draft proposals are part of a consultation on the government's alcohol strategy - Safe, Sensible, Social -which claims that the introduction of 24-hour drinking has failed to bring about the shift in behaviour that a more continental "cafe culture" had been expected.

Criticism has been levelled at many current attitudes to alcohol and warnings that drinks should not be promoted as a way of enhancing an individual's "social, sexual, physical, mental and financial or sporting performance".

The health warnings will include graphic information for drinkers on how many units their glass or bottle contains, a statement from the chief medical officer on safe drinking and the address of a website offering information on moderate alcohol consumption.

According to the Home Office the draft code is not a statement of government policy and will probably be revised in order to make it mandatory in retail premises that sell alcohol.

Experts say the drinks industry needs tougher regulation and the current voluntary code governing the industry should be made mandatory as there was no evidence it had "stopped bad practice" or discouraged young and heavy drinkers from consuming too much cheap alcohol.
source: http://www.news-medical.net

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