Boston Globe sides with the sippers

Boston Globe sides with the sippers

I’m voting “No” on Massachusetts ballot question 1, which would permit the sale of wine in more food stores, because I think it would increase underage drinking and associated problems. Unfortunately, the Boston Globe sees things differently and has advocated a “Yes” vote:

[T]he availability of wine with groceries does make life a little more convenient for the many adults who like to sip wine with their dinner…

Ok, as long as it’s just sipping wine then I guess it’s ok. But I’m more worried about the chuggers and those who skip dinner entirely!

October 31, 2006

5 thoughts on “Boston Globe sides with the sippers”

  1. In Minnesota, we cannot buy wine on Sunday. Can’t buy it at a grocery store. Can’t buy it after some hour at night.

    I come from Iowa, where you can buy your groceries and pick up a bottle or two of red to go with your steak without having to put more than one charge on your card. It is great.

    I personally notice very little difference between the Minnesota and Iowa with respect to liquor purchases. That is, except when I discover on Sunday that I forgot to buy that bottle of wine on Saturday. Oh, and every time I want to buy a bottle of wine it means an extra trip.

    Instead of fears, superstitions, and anecdote regarding persons who chug vs. sip, anyone got data? Incidence of alcoholism, alcohol related injury, alcohol related crime, etc.?

  2. The evidence is somewhat mixed but consistent with my opinion.

    In “Preventing Impaired Driving Using Alcohol Policy” by Joel Grube (Prevention Research Center, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Berkeley) and Kathryn Stewart (Safety and Policy Analysis International) in the Journal Traffic Injury Prevention (5:199-207, 2004)the authors discuss a variety of policies. These include regulating economic availability (e.g., price regulations and taxes), drinking age, outlet density, hours of sale, legal liability, key registration, social host liability, and advertising. They also examine the evidence regarding enforcement.

    There is strong evidence that enforcement is effective, and I’m worried that we won’t have much enforcement in MA.

    “Enforcement of laws against retailers who sell to minors… can have a substantial impact. Thus, a campagin focusing on issuing citations to clerks who sold alcohol or tobacco products to minors and giving commendations to clerks who refused to sell these products was able to raise compliance from a pretest level of 17% to a posttest level of 67% (Lewis, et al., 1996). Similar results have been reported by Grube (1997) who found that enforcement coupled with media coverage produced a net reduction in sales to minors of 30 % to 35%.”

    Greater outlet density seems to increase alcohol sales in the US, though results are relatively modest and inconsistent. There isn’t an example that quite matches the MA plan. However, there is some strong –though old– evidence from Nordic countries.

    “In 1969 changes in Finnish law allowed alcoholic beneverages with up to 4.7% alcohol by volume to be sold in grocery stores. Previously, sale of alcohol above 2.8% by volume was allowed only in state owned retail monopoly stores. The new law also allowed state owned retail monopoly stores to be located in rural areas, a practice previously prohibited. The institution of this law led to a 46% increase in fully licensed restaurants and a 22% increase in retail monopoly stores. In addition, over 17,000 retail food stores were licensed to sell the higher alcohol beverages. These changes in availability were associated with a 46% increase in the volume of alcohol consumed…, a 63% increase in frequency of consumption, and a 20% increase in heavy consumption (e.g., Makela, Osterberg, & Sulkunen, 1981, Makela, 2002, Mustoen & Sund, 2001).”

    The MA situation is less dramatic, but I worry.

  3. David,

    Why not ban the sale of wine altogether? that would solve the problem.

    Guns are allowed at 18, based on an assumption of individual responsability – but never mind that when it comes to wine. Let’s punish the good guys to prevent what exactly? some 18,19 year old college kids who will get their cheap beer anyway?

    Isn’t it a bit ridiculous?

  4. It’s a question of where you draw the line. You can be for gun sales but against the sale of assault rifles. I’m not against alcohol sales but I am against expanding the number of stores with licenses to sell, especially until we see some competency in this state on enforcement.

  5. the question remains. you are trusted to be mature enough to have a gun at 18 (yep, a small little pistol), but not mature enough to have a drink.

    that aside, as i argued before, the people who will get the lower end of the stick are people like us (adults), not the pistol waiving 18-19 year olds, who will get their wine & wiskey from other adults.
    as someone who grew up in europe, i find this debate similar with the “boob” debate. don’t show them a boob on tv – they’ll see it anyway in a few years, but show’em how to crack some guy’s head in the most violent possible way. that’s ok too…

    anyway – nothing is perfect. 🙂

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