The British parliament has announced a review of the main public health issues of alcohol consumption in the UK and its effects on policing and the health service. Despite the negative impact that certain findings of the review may have upon the alcoholic drinks trade, it may encourage a healthier approach to British alcohol consumption, and in turn lead to fewer regulations overall.
Under the auspices of the Health Select Committee, the UK parliament has announced the launch of an enquiry into the drinking habits of UK consumers and alcohol-related harm. It has been reported that the main thrust of the enquiry will focus on alcohol-related health problems and the impact these have on the health service, and how multiple stakeholders, including the police, government departments, and the alcoholic beverage industry should deal with such problems.
This announcement follows on from other alcohol-related health campaigns and recent scientific findings, with current television advertising campaigns highlighting the problems of excessive drinking for young adults at parties, and for more mature adults consuming excessive amounts due to ignorance about alcoholic units.
Recent scientific research suggests that the continental approach of teaching children to have respect for alcohol at home before the age of 18 may not be beneficial. In January 2009, England's chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, stated that under-15s should avoid alcohol, as early drinking is likely to have negative effects on children, even though this occurs in French society where there is a perceived greater respect for alcohol and less drunken disorderly behavior.
Professor Anna Van Wersch of Teeside University has said that the 'work hard, party hard' mentality in the UK is a natural consequence of needing to release pressure due to the strain on professionals during the working week, which has led to a large number of UK consumers concentrating their drinking during the weekends.
Commercial parties interested in the production and marketing of alcoholic drinks will be concerned that alcoholic drinks may be the next target for tougher regulation in light of the on-trade smoking ban, and this review may prompt criticism of politicians for an ever-growing nanny state influence over consumers' lives. However, the review could lead to a more complete, holistic understanding of the issues generated by alcohol, which could negate the need for increased regulation if consumers can be encouraged to adopt healthier drinking behaviors.