About two thirds of all binge drinks consumed are beer, and the people most at risk to drive drunk, get hurt or get violent have more than likely gotten drunk on beer. Beer enjoys a strong and favorable misperception of its inherent dangers, and also enjoys very favorable legislation governing its taxation, marketing practices and lack of sales restrictions. Governmental policies that favor the sale of beer over other types of alcohol do not make any sense from a public health viewpoint.
The Most Dangerous Alcohol?
A lot of people don’t consider that drinking beer is as serious or as harmful as drinking hard liquor, and this perception in reinforced by governmental legislation that allows for more intensive marketing of beer, for favorable taxation and for less regulation over its sale.
Of course beer is simply alcohol just like any other form of alcohol, and if you drink 7 beers, or have 7 cocktails…you will be just as drunk; and if you drink a number of beers with regularity, you are just as at risk for addiction as you would be if you drank only bourbon or vodka.
In fact, studies of binge drinking in America show that beer is the favored binge drink of choice, and because binge drinking creates such societal problems (drunk driving, violence, domestic abuse) and because binge drinking is a necessary stepping stone to dependency, it seems that beer is in fact the most dangerous alcoholic beverage consumed in America today.
The breakdown of binge drinking has beer accounting for 67% of all binge drinks consumed, with liquor a very distant second at 22%. The survey study, conducted by the National center for Disease Control and Prevention, illustrates how dichotomous liquor/beer laws are confusing the drinking public about the relative safety of beer drinking, and researchers conclude that preferential laws favoring beer make absolutely no sense from a public health viewpoint.
Researchers call for tougher beer control laws and increased taxation. They call for a limit on points of sale, and a reduction in marketing…particularly marketing directed at younger people.
I was a beer drunk, and I know first hand that the damage done by a case of beer sure seems a lot like the damage down by a bottle of whiskey; and it’s too bad that a lingering misperception of the dangers of beer remains a part of out National consciousness.
- Beer is alcohol, and it needs to be regulated in a similar manner to all other forms of alcohol. Why can we buy beer at a convenience store but not whiskey, when studies show that the people most likely to drink to excess, drive drunk, and have problems with the law or most probably going to have been drinking beer?
- Why can Budweiser sponsor a Super Bowl halftime show, when a great many football fans watching the game are very likely drinking beer, and when Super Bowl game day is one of the riskiest days of the year for alcohol fueled domestic assault?
Prohibition is never the answer, and I don’t think that we can or even should deny responsible adults the right to purchase and consume beer or any other alcohol in a moderate and reasonable manner. But giving preferential legislative treatment to beer simply because it enjoys a misperception of safety (huge lobbying dollars???) is damaging and nonsensical.