Via Chris Snowdon:
Low-alcohol booze ‘can you make you drink more’ as they are marketed for ‘lunchtime’ or ‘all occasions’
They are seen as the sensible option to enjoy a tipple without going overboard.
But low-alcohol wine and beer may actually lead people to drink more, academics have warned.
Researchers at the University of Cambridge say lower strength drinks are being marketed as drinks for ‘lunchtime’ or ‘all occasions’, which may encourage people to choose them instead of soft drinks.
Actually, I think this makes a certain paradoxical sense. For the less alcohol there is in some drink or other, the more of it that you’ll need to drink in order to get drunk. And so if you’re knocking back pints and pints of low-alcohol beer at some party, you may have a false sense of security about your likelihood of getting drunk. On the other hand, if you’re drinking neat whisky, you’ll likely be highly aware that one little tumbler of it can push you over the limit.
Surely the real issue is whether people know what they’re drinking or not? If they know it’s weak or strong in alcohol, they’re much more likely to act accordingly.
The same sort of reasoning applies to smoking cigarettes. I believe that these days cigarettes contain less nicotine than they did 50 or 60 years ago. If nicotine is the active ingredient in tobacco (it may be, or may not be) then wouldn’t the effect of reducing the amount of nicotine in tobacco have been to increase how many cigarettes people had to smoke in order to achieve the desired effect?
So also low-calorie food. Since we need some number of calories of energy to be able to stay alive, the immediate effect of eating low-calorie food must be that people need to eat more of it. So they end up eating more food, not less.
There might be similar effects with things like speed limits. If one is in a hurry to get somewhere, but you have to pass through a 30 mph speed limit area, isn’t one likely compensatory effect going to be that you drive faster once you get out of them, so that a decrease in speeds in one area is offset by increases in speeds elsewhere?
And another thing with speed limits on roads near, say, schools might well be that in their safe environment, children will become more likely to run out into roads without looking right and left to see what’s coming, because they no longer need to do so. And if they become accustomed to running out into roads heedlessly at school, aren’t they likely to bring the same propensities to roads where there are no speed limits (and where cars might be driving faster to make up time as they leave the speed-restricted areas)? So it becomes possible to imagine that there is a “kill zone” just outside speed-restricted areas where running children encounter speeding cars. After all, children don’t read traffic signs, so they won’t know when they’re leaving a speed-restricted area, and need to watch out for what’s coming.
Same with the shark nets that are used to keep sharks away from some some crowded beaches. Isn’t there a likelihood that people will stop worrying about sharks, and swim around happily at any distance from the shore, not bothering to keep an eye out for dorsal fins cutting through the surface? And what if they stray just outside these safe spaces? And what if some sharks manage to somehow get into the supposedly shark-free areas, and are unable to get back out because the nets pen them in? And what if the penned-in sharks start getting hungry, and need to eat something, and maybe something they’ve never eaten before…?
I could spend all day dreaming up endless examples of such unsafe “safe spaces”.