Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Banning Alcohol Will Only Help Make It Seem More Attractive; FOOD

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Banning Alcohol Will Only Help Make It Seem More Attractive; FOOD

Article excerpt

Byline: BILL OLDFIELD

WITH the rising problems associated with the extreme drinking habits of our adolescents, at first it seems completely logical to ban anyone under the age of 21 from buying alcohol, as they are proposing in Scotland.

There's no doubt that there's a problem with people drinking too much; particularly if your view is that using the NHS to treat alcohol-related illnesses is a problem.

One of the main reasons put forward for increasing the age at which drink can be bought is that the results of its consumption are costing the State too much. Very thoughtful, when you consider that it's the population that pays for the NHS in the first place. Does that mean that if one goes private then one could buy booze cheaper? And is the logical extension of the argument that we'll all be banned from going out in the rain in case we get a cold and put a further burden upon our health services?

Still, there's no doubt that there is a problem.

However, it seems that since time immemorial our rulers have tried to correct something by banning or restricting something else. And, as is patently apparent, it frequently doesn't work. Illegal drugs are a great example. Despite being banned, their increased use seems unstoppable. Speeding on our roads? Stick up loads of speed cameras, put up the fines and increase the points and the cash just keeps rolling in. If they worked, wouldn't the revenue-raising theory be proved to be self-defeating?

It's obvious that respect for our fellow man and education gives us the real dividends. Take smoking. Sure, some people still do it, and of course the new legally-imposed restrictions will make more people give up. But the real reduction in smokers was caused by the realisation that smoking was not exactly good for you. That's why I gave up and it seems to be the same for just about everybody I knew. However, my parent's generation were actually told, by advertising, that it could help them live longer, better and be more attractive to the opposite sex. …

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