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Alcohol vs tobacco. Is there an in-balance in UK law?

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YanUK
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#1

Posted 27 November 2013 - 11:55 PM

I am not saying reduce the restrictions on smoking but do you think it is time for the uk government to look at alcohol with the same eyes?

There has been a smoking ban for some time in uk. Recently new legislation required shops of certain size to 'hide' their products. Tobacco packs have clear health warnings, sports can no longer have tobacco company sponsors, etc. There is evidence that this is helping to reduce the number of people starting to smoke.

My point is this, should a similar approach be applied to alcohol. I am not saying reduce smoking restraints but the difference between the two drugs seems to have got very large. Here are some bulled points to enforce my point. Whilst reading keep in mind the restrictions in place for tobacco (uk).

1 no warning on alcohol packs, bottles or cans other than a very small pregnant lady image.

2 sports events and teams have alcohol sponsorship

3 I have never known anybody smoke 10 fags and then beta the crap out of their wife.

4 the government will say there are no similar restrictions because there is no safe limit for smoking but there is for alcohol. But, how many people do you know who drink stick to the recommended daily intake of alcohol?

5 look at the burden on nhs, police, relationships via alcohol. Visit a and e on a fir or sat night - it will be full of alcohol related issues.

6 you cannot see cigarette packs in a shop but your kids can see all the booze in the aisle no problem.

7 alco pops are clearly aimed at youngsters - where's the warning on the pack " warning, alcohol is a mind altering drug"

8 someone once told me my cigarette offended them and I was selfish for affecting their health. Only 3 months later they were prosecuted for drink driving. If they had killed someone then that is the ultimate selfishness and affecting someone's health.

That's it for now I could go on but I will let you have a say.


Ps I enjoy alcohol and tobacco so I am not biased.

Captain VXR
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#2

Posted 28 November 2013 - 12:25 AM

I am not saying reduce the restrictions on smoking but do you think it is time for the uk government to look at alcohol with the same eyes?

There has been a smoking ban for some time in uk. Recently new legislation required shops of certain size to 'hide' their products. Tobacco packs have clear health warnings, sports can no longer have tobacco company sponsors, etc. There is evidence that this is helping to reduce the number of people starting to smoke.

My point is this, should a similar approach be applied to alcohol. I am not saying reduce smoking restraints but the difference between the two drugs seems to have got very large. Here are some bulled points to enforce my point. Whilst reading keep in mind the restrictions in place for tobacco (uk).

1 no warning on alcohol packs, bottles or cans other than a very small pregnant lady image.

2 sports events and teams have alcohol sponsorship

3 I have never known anybody smoke 10 fags and then beta the crap out of their wife.

4 the government will say there are no similar restrictions because there is no safe limit for smoking but there is for alcohol. But, how many people do you know who drink stick to the recommended daily intake of alcohol?

5 look at the burden on nhs, police, relationships via alcohol. Visit a and e on a fir or sat night - it will be full of alcohol related issues.

6 you cannot see cigarette packs in a shop but your kids can see all the booze in the aisle no problem.

7 alco pops are clearly aimed at youngsters - where's the warning on the pack " warning, alcohol is a mind altering drug"

8 someone once told me my cigarette offended them and I was selfish for affecting their health. Only 3 months later they were prosecuted for drink driving. If they had killed someone then that is the ultimate selfishness and affecting someone's health.

That's it for now I could go on but I will let you have a say.


Ps I enjoy alcohol and tobacco so I am not biased.

Well I guess the main difference is that cigarettes are more dangerous and addictive than alcohol. I too enjoy both, as well as cannabis and caffeine. Furthermore, there's no such thing as passive drinking - you won't be harmed by watching someone drink a bottle of cider, whereas passive smoking can cause harm. Any off licence, tobacconist and small supermarket (think Sainsbury's Local) will have cigarettes and other tobacco products clearly on display which kids can see.

 

You may not have known someone who smoked 10 fags and beat their wife, however without those fags, but with the addiction, they may have done so. The person who criticised you for smoking then drink-drove is a f*cking dumbass. Just be thankful that your drugs of choice don't result in criminal penalties for possessing, purchasing, selling and home production.


Melchior
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#3

Posted 28 November 2013 - 04:29 AM

Well I guess the main difference is that cigarettes are more dangerous and addictive than alcohol. I too enjoy both, as well as cannabis and caffeine. Furthermore, there's no such thing as passive drinking - you won't be harmed by watching someone drink a bottle of cider, whereas passive smoking can cause harm. 

This is a bit of a silly argument. There's no such thing as passive drinking, but I've nearly gotten into some pretty serious fights because people were drunk. I'm sure the amount of people badly beaten or hit with bottles outside pubs is bigger than the amount of people who've gotten lung cancer from walking through cigarette smoke. Further, measures could be taken to reduce the impact of second hand smoke without affecting someone's voluntary choice to smoke tobacco on their own.

 

Let's be honest here, the reason that alcohol gets such special treatment is because our culture is built around it. I don't know about you guys, but I met most of my friends at parties or pubs. Pretty much all of our social interaction is done with a beer in front of us. How else could we sit around a table and talk to strangers for hours on end? Take away alcohol and our entire culture rapidly changes into something unrecognisable. And I'm sure no shortage of major economic decisions are made by businessmen gaining each other's trust at a bar. 


sivispacem
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#4

Posted 28 November 2013 - 09:55 AM

I do agree with the cultural elements, but the bit of your response I object to is the insinuation that passive harm from drinking as a phenomenon is a product of anything other than excessive consumption.

My argument is thus- there is no conclusive medical evidence that moderate consumption of alcohol is in any way harmful. There's a great deal of contradictory suggestive evidence that it may be both beneficial and harmful but the harms of alcohol, both direct and indirect, are almost solely a product of excessive consumption. Having two pints of ale on a Friday night after work will not directly or indirectly result in any measurable harm to you or anyone around you unless you perform an action that would have been equally irresponsible had you done it when sober. Done over a two hour time frame, chances are other wouldn't even impede your ability to drive from a legal perspective.

Smoking is very different in that it is both passively and actively harmful in any quantity. With alcohol, it is harmless until you reach an arbitrary point at which it either begins to cause physical damage (active) or degrades the ability of the individual in question to act rationally (passive). Smoking starts harmful, and becomes progressively more harmful the more it is done.

In summary- alcohol is not in and of itself harmful when consumed in a moderate way. Like many things- sugar, adrenaline, caffeine and a fairly substantial number of illicit drugs, particularly those acting on monoamine inhibitors or 5-HT receptors, they aren't measurably harmful in limited therapeutic or moderated doses. Whilst nicotine in moderated quantities and therapeutic quantities isn't any more harmful than ethanol or phenethylamine compounds the very act of intake in the smoke of burning plant material is both passively and actively harmful.

Melchior
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#5

Posted 30 November 2013 - 05:53 AM

Well, you're obviously right, though since we live in a culture that accepts and facilitates excessive consumption, it's kind of a moot point. It's possible to drink alcohol in moderation (though very, very few young people do) but it's also possible for me to smoke on my own balcony or on a deserted street and not affect anyone but myself. Then again, if it's a choice between outrageous taxes and outrageous restrictions on where I can smoke, I'd probably opt for the former.


uzi 9mm
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#6

Posted 07 December 2013 - 06:27 AM

Smoking is more addictive to be blunt. And smoking in an enclosed area like a vehicle or a building will result in passive smoking and not really fair for people who don't want to breathe it in.

 

Alcohol doesn't damage other people's health, if someone is drinking next to me, I'm not being intoxicated or affected, if people become violent due to drinking that is purely because of their own consequences, same goes for drink driving. Even though people can get addicted to alcohol too, it's not as common as tobacco, you can smoke lots of cigarettes, it won't do what alcohol does to you, you can smoke during work, or anytime, it won't really make you drunk, this makes smoking more of an thing you can get addicted to, drinking is more of a thing you do when you you are able to, you can't do it at work or you'll get sacked.

 

To be fair, I've walked on some streets and the pollution from cars is so bad you might as well smoke a cigarette it would have the same effect, try walking passed the back of a bus before it steams off, that heat that you breathe in just as you walked by it is definitely bad for you. Yesterday I was walking by Queen's road in Peckham and the air I was breathing in was so bad I was holding my breath as much as I could, pollution from vehicles is MUCH worse than what comes from cigarettes, the Earth's atmosphere is an enclosed space altogether, so banning smoking in a way is contradictory when you consider what pollution does to the planet. I'm a hypocrite anyway since I won't drive an electric car so forget about that argument.

 

Anyway, smoking is a very addictive, I gave up near to 3 months ago now, and haven't resisted, after 10 years of smoking, I just decided that's it, enough, I want to live not die and believe me, it's not easy, whoever said after 28 days of smoking the tobacco is completely out of your system and you won't want to smoke again is a liar! Even after 3 months I still want to smoke, everyday there's at least a few times when I'd like a cig but I won't give in. Alcohol doesn't really do this to people as easily.


WBaker
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#7

Posted 07 December 2013 - 06:36 AM

^ I'd like that post if I were a Brit.

This is across the pond but regarding pollution is worse than smoking: "Each year in the United States, industrial operations emit nearly 100 million tons of pollutants into the air. (Epa.gov)"

Anyways to hell with smoking and drinking you guys have internet censorship. 12 yr olds in America don't have this. It's seriously f*cked up for a first world country. I'd say you should be up in arms about that but you aren't allowed guns either for the most part.

sivispacem
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#8

Posted 07 December 2013 - 10:51 AM

One, that's not really the point. Try to keep on topic please. Two, I don't think the US has any real right to judge the freedom of other societies given that most of Western Europe including the UK finishes higher on the various freedom indices.
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John The Grudge
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#9

Posted 06 January 2014 - 11:57 AM

The harmful effects of smoking are insideous so warning people of it's effects is reasonable and probably necessary.  The effects of alcohol on the other hand are more obvious.  The negative effects alcohol has on society is probably more effectively tackled on a social level.  Pictures on cans and a ban on advertising would have little or no impact on alcohol abuse.  As others have said most people who consume alcohol do so responsibly so any campaign against it's abuse should avoid harming a perfectly acceptable industry.

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