Friday, March 24, 2006

Easy-access booze 'damages health'

Easy-access booze 'damages health':

"Easy-access booze 'damages health'

CHEAP and plentiful alcohol could cause a health crisis reminiscent of the horrors of the 18th century 'Gin Lane', a liver expert warned.

The availability of alcohol 'next to bread and milk' in supermarkets and in all-day pubs is damaging health, Professor Ian Gilmore told the annual conference of the British Society of Gastroenterology.

He likened the plentiful sale of cheap alcohol to 'Gin Lane' - depicted in an engraving by the artist William Hogarth.
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Hogarth showed the rampant alcoholism that afflicted London's streets in 1751 before the Government took control.

Prof Gilmore also accused the Government of 'overlooking' the problem of people drinking excessively at home.

He said: 'The move in the UK is towards making drink easier to get, when all the international evidence says that the rates of alcohol-related health damage is related to increased availability and low price.

'In modern times alcohol has never been cheaper or more available. We are in a time of cheap alcohol reminiscent of Hogarth's Gin Lane.

'In many civilised countries alcohol is available either from separate shops, or at least from separate sections within supermarkets. Here it is next to the bread and milk.

'This easy availability encourages drinking at home, and this is what is driving the damage to health, just as much as binge-drinking in pubs and bars.

Disorder

'Government alcohol policy focuses on crime and disorder and binge drinkers and is in danger of overlooking those drinking regularly and excessively at home.'

Prof Gilmore also attacked alcohol advertising, saying: 'Broadcast advertising of alcohol is banned in France, but here there is not even a 9pm watershed to restrict children's exposure to alcohol advertising.'

He welcomed tighter policing of laws restricting sale of drink to the under 18s and attempts by the alcohol industry to step back from irresponsibly promoting alcohol."

Then we'll go after people drinking. All those people arguing that pubs won't be hurt by going non-smoking will start telling us that they won't be hurt one bit if they can't sell alcohol either. And let's cut down on that drinking at home. It's almost totally (gasp!) unregulated!

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