Alcohol Debate Simmers on
Essay title: Alcohol Debate Simmers on
Alcohol debate simmers on
The national Legislative AssemblyвЂ™s ad-hoc committee vetting the proposed alcohol control bill has decided to impose a ban on alcoholic beverage advertisements in broadcast media and at movie theatres at all hours except between midnight and 5am. In making the decision, the committee took into consideration free radio and television stationsвЂ™ dependence on revenues from alcoholic beverage ads as well as public concern about the need to protect young people from advertisements that anti-alcohol groups say encourage them to take up drinking from a tender ageвЂ”which they fear will lead to a host of social problem ranging from drunken driving to unsafe sex and alcoholism Apparently the decision pleased neither the broadcast and entertainment industries and liquor producers on the one side nor the anti-alcohol lobby on the other which may not be a bad thing after all. A contrarian approach is what is needed to settle such a controversial issue.
The panel made a sensible decision to reject the prohibitionist proposal made by anti-alcohol activists seeking a total ban, which can only be described as too extreme. There can be no justification for depriving alcoholic drink producers of the opportunity to advertise as long as they continue to be recognized by the law as being tax-paving legitimate business operators. It is understandable that the broadcast and entertainment industries are not happy with the decision because that will cause them to lose substantial amounts in unearned ad revenues that they would have pocketed without the advertising restrictions. But as responsible corporate citizens, they need to balance the urge to make profits against doing what is good for society at large.
We heard little or no complaint from alcoholic beverage producers regarding the ad restrictionsвЂ”probably because they know they have been doing lucrative business with such huge profit margins that they can afford to spend billions upon billions of bath on advertisements and marketing activities.
Alcoholic beverages taken in moderation are not a bad thing in themselves. The problems begin to crop up and multiply when people, either because of their inherent weaknesses or lack of good upbringing or proper socialization, start to abuse alcohol and become addicted to it. It can be argued that advertisement, particularly big budget ones commissioned by big liquor producers, can be designed to manipulate and seduce impressionable youth and influence them to start drinking at an early age. In some cases, these ads and the temptation get them hooked on the habit for the rest of their lives.
It is not too difficult to see how young people are attracted to the idea of drinking as an adult way of having a good time; they can be seen as sexually attractive and confident when they drink. That is not to say liquor producers and the broadcast and entertainment industries should be let off the hook for their role in influencing young people from starting drinking when they should not. Everybody knows that abuse of alcohol can cause a lot of harm to society, to drinkers and non-drinkers alike. For drinkers, abuse of alcohol over time can cause lone-term, irreversible damage to liver and brain, which puts a strain on the countryвЂ™s public health resources. This is not to mention road accidents as the result of drunken driving which kill tens of thousands of people, injuring or maiming more than 100,000 others, including non-drinkers, each year. Accidents cause hundreds of billions of baht in property damage and medical expenses. Most of these accidents could have been avoided if only people were deterred from getting behind the while after having too much to drink.
Even so, morality in whatever form or guised, be it religious or do-good activism, should not be allowed