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Issue 51 - Are they coming to get us?

Whisky Magazine Issue 51
October 2005


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Are they coming to get us?

Smokers are facing ever increasing restrictions.Will the alcoholic drink sector be next?

The Panel
James Leavey (JL) - Editor The FOREST Guides to Smoking in. London and Scotland.
Dominic Roskrow (DR) - Editor Whisky Magazineand Cigar Buyer.
David Williamson (DW) - Scotch Whisky Association.

Q.Fears are growing that spirits and alcohol will follow tobacco and face first the threat of restrictions and then an ever-escalating campaign for bans.Firstly,do you accept the premise outlined above? Why?

DW: Globally, alcoholic drinks already face a variety of restrictions, either barriers to market access, such as discriminatory tariffs, but, increasingly, also limiting the freedom to market products. These are closely linked to the alcohol and health debate.

However, it doesn't follow that spirits will face tobacco-style restrictions. While alcohol misuse through excessive consumption can do harm, it is widely recognised that responsible consumption may confer health benefits and that most people who drink do so as part of a healthy lifestyle. Officials and politicians in several countries are on record that alcohol and tobacco are not the same.

It is also important that distillers have taken a lead in promoting responsible consumption, using unit labelling and responsibility messages, and adopting a far reaching SWACode of Practice on responsible marketing and promotion. Selfregulation, with industry and government working together, is the best solution and legislative restrictions are not necessary.

JL: It's possible but it doesn't make sense, from an economic or...

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