Blog: No smoke and mirrors for the future of alcohol legislation
Chris Brook-Carter | 10 January 2011
Ten years ago, it was only the more shrewd amongst the alcohol sector that looked at the cigarette industry and thought, "there but for the grace of God...". As the authorities systematically attacked the tobacco industry - with tax hikes, advertising restrictions and ever more draconian labelling legislation - many simply could not believe that drinking and smoking could ever be viewed in the same bracket by health campaigners and legislators.
It's far easier now, with ten years of hindsight, to see the similarities between the two industries. Drinks companies have faced a well-organised and aggressive opposition in the anti-alcohol lobby, and, governments in the West have responded with rising "sin taxes" and tightening advertising and labelling restrictions. The only question now is not if alcohol will follow tobacco's fate but to what extent.
So, its interesting to see that Citigroup has today predicted that smoking could "virtually disappear" in Britain within half a century. In the 1960s, just over half of the UK's adult population smoked. But, it's been on the wane since and the huge campaign to educate the public of its serious health consequences - along with the introduction of the smoking ban in 2007 - saw that figure drop to a fifth by 2008.
Of course, Citigroup warns that its predictions are extremely long-term. But, for the anti-smoking lobby to have effectively wiped out the cigarette industry in many Western markets in the space of a century would be an extraordinary victory. Can you see a similar end to the alcohol sector a further 30 years on? Let's be realistic, probably not. Drinking is a far more ingrained part of our culture and, importantly, when consumed responsibly, it does not have serious health effects.
But, as an exercise in learning how consumer behaviour can be changed drastically, it should be sounding alarm bells. If the anti-alcohol lobby continues to campaign as hard as it has done in the last decade, can you also not see it having a significant impact on overall consumption by, say, 2050?
It would be easy for drinks companies to dismiss this as alarmist. However, if we had collectively learnt from the attack on tobacco ten years ago, perhaps the drinks sector wouldn't be quite so on the back foot to restrictive legislation as it is now.
It seems even 250-year-old Cognac houses want to be like Google these days....
It's not even available on pre-order yet, but Apple's latest piece of kit has already got a breathalyser app....
just-drinks is now closed for the Easter weekend....
Last year was tough for The Coca-Cola Co. So staff in Atlanta won't be pleased to read that Pepsi has overtaken Diet Coke as the no. 2 soda brand in the US. ...
- Is Diageo on the Brink of a Brain Drain?
- SABMiller edges Diageo as beer trumps spirits
- Will Keurig Kold come to Coca-Cola Co's Rescue?
- Focus - SABMiller's FY Sales Performance by Region
- Focus - Indonesia: Prohibition in Paradise?
- Carlsberg exec joins Diageo as Africa chief steps
- Diageo YTD sales come in flat
- Pernod Ricard unveils Havana Club ad campaign
- Heineken "concerned" as Indonesia enacts beer ban
- Global Tequila market hits new highs in 2014
- Global rum insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends research
- Global Tequila insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends research
- Bacardi Limited - Strategy and SWOT Report
- ALDI 2015: Radically transforming Anglo Saxon grocery markets
- Diageo plc (DGE) - Financial and Strategic SWOT Analysis Review