Increasing health concerns around alcohol are prompting talk of legislation

Increasing health concerns around alcohol are prompting talk of legislation

Proposals to raise alcohol taxes and increase on-trade regulation in New York are set to be rejected by the state's governor, according to local reports.

A five-year “Health Improvement Plan”, devised by the New York state Health & Health Planning Council, includes recommedations to increase the tax on alcohol sales, cut the number of permits for bars and liquor stores and only allow acohol advertising that does not “glamourise alcohol and substance abuse”, the New York Post reported yesterday (3 December).

However, Bill Schwarz, a state health department spokesman was quoted as saying: “The governor doesn’t support raising this tax, or the other measures.” 

Dr Nirav Shah, New York's health commissioner, is expected to ask that the proposals be dropped from the panel's plan during a vote on Thursday, it was reported. 

Jay Hibbard, the Distilled Spirits Council VP, said the plans would do "nothing to improve community health" and force thousands of bartenders and restaurant workers out of a job. "Far better would be for policymakers to spend grant money promoting evidence-based solutions such as doctor screenings and brief intervention to reduce alcohol abuse," he added, in an emailed statement to just-drinks. 

Reports surfaced earlier this year that New York City major Michael Bloomberg was planning a similar alcohol crackdown. 

The city is facing a ban on large high-sugar soft drinks, but a legal challenge has been launched against Bloomberg's plan.