Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Opin­ion -

WHY is al­co­hol more so­cially ac­cept­able than smok­ing? Last week, Fed­eral La­bor an­nounced it would in­crease the price of a packet of cig­a­rettes to $40, if it was voted in to power. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a fan of cig­a­rettes and I know the dam­age they cause. But if we are go­ing to be a nanny state and tax all risky be­hav­iour out of ex­is­tence, then we have to look closely at the dam­age caused by al­co­hol. Re­sults of a na­tional sur­vey of hospi­tal emer­gency de­part­ments re­leased last week showed half a mil­lion peo­ple a year came to hospi­tal for emer­gency treat­ment as a di­rect re­sult of al­co­hol con­sump­tion. This is a mas­sive bur­den on the health sys­tem and does not take into ac­count the longterm health ef­fects of ex­ces­sive drink­ing. Add the de­struc­tion caused by al­co­hol-fu­elled do­mes­tic violence, car ac­ci­dent deaths and se­ri­ous as­saults and the com­mu­nity must ques­tion our ac­cep­tance of such an in­sid­i­ous drug.

Rick Lee - re­gional ed­i­tor

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