When will health activists just be straight with the public that they are neo-prohibitionists? In the latest round of idiotic paternalistic regulations the NSW liquor regulator is arguing two-for-one offers for booze are driving alcohol abuse. According to a Fairfax report:
The Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing has formed a preliminary view that a shopping docket blitz this year by Coles and Woolworths risks contributing to alcohol-related harm and is considering whether to restrict the deals.
These “deals” are like any other discount – buy one, get one free. But apparently when it is a bottle New Zealand’s Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc 750ml it goes from being a discount to a danger.
Surely the bigger problem is how people are promoting this wine as desirable. According to the website the wine is:
“a well-rounded expression of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, showing all the natural characteristics of this world-famous region”
Worse, the website promotes it as allied to healthy fruit, further misleading the public, and most likely tantalising children:
“Aromas of rock melon, lemongrass and ripe gooseberry dominate with top notes ranging from tropical grapefruit to sweet capsicum”
Of course these last two suggestions are absurd. But one day that argument will be made. But in response to the discounting a headline-grabbing health academic adds a veneer of seeming credibility to the idea that there is, indeed, a problem:
director of the centre for health initiatives at the University of Wollongong, said research showed an increasing number of bulk purchase promotions at bottle shops was causing shoppers to buy more and encouraging young drinkers to consume more alcohol.
The problem is that there is no evidence this is the case. But it’s a reminder of the stupidity of the arguments constantly made about our booze-ridden culture that must be cleansed of all temptation. Which is an odd response so overall consumption has been declining according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics since the mid-1970s:
From the early 1960s onwards apparent per capita consumption increased steadily, peaking at 13.1 litres of pure alcohol per person in 1974-75. Apparent per capita consumption remained relatively steady for the next 5-10 years, then declined over the following decade, reaching 9.8 litres per person in 1995-96.