This article appeared in the Times today and I thought it put forward an interesting viewpoint that although a little tongue in cheek has some resonance: Sweet reason: get tough on the real cause of binge drinking â lemonade MARTIN SAMUEL WANT TO CURB teenage binge drinking? Donât worry about the alcohol. Ban mixers. Mixers are the problem. Mixers are the menace. It is not Jack Daniels that is creating the cirrhosis generation. Nobody in his right mind under the age of 40 and not sitting gap-toothed on a stoop in Kentucky would drink neat bourbon. It is Coca-Cola that is the procurer, being the ingredient that makes it taste sweet. Go to any town centre on a Saturday night and the kids are not drinking alcohol. Not real alcohol. Not anything that actually tastes like alcohol. They are lusting after the same tang that has been their friend since pre-nursery school. Sugar. Alcohol lite. That is what kids drink. Problem being, it is not the content that is watered down, but the taste. Rum remains rum, but put blackcurrant in it and it tastes like Ribena. Which, as we all know, is the perfect accompaniment to a bag of chips and a Turkey Twizzler and is, as such, a flavour that endures into young adulthood. Like orange, like lemonade, like all the syrupy juices that are laced and poured endlessly down juvenile necks in every pub across Britain. What used to rot your teeth now rots your liver, too. Thatâs progress. The most morally bankrupt product on the market is the alcopop. It has one reason for being: to get kids drunk. Those who do not really enjoy alcohol, yet fear peer rejection if they eschew the communal vomiting or violence at midnight, have now found their brand. Thanks to the ever-growing family of alcopops, kids can become as ill, aggressive and overconfident as the next man while never troubling their taste buds with anything more complex than a glorified lollipop. Re-education is required. If you are over 18 and your favourite drink is an alcopop, here is the message: youâre a wuss. Not because you donât really like alcohol, but because you donât really like alcohol and you havenât the strength of character to say that to whoever is getting the round in. Alcopops taste like soft drinks. The taste you truly enjoy is found in soft drinks. So have a soft drink. Unless you really enjoy being sick or punched in the face, in which case, move to a medium-sized town in Britain, get them in and enjoy the fun. Alcopops were created because brewers and licensees cottoned on to what kids were drinking: vodka and lemonade, gin and orange, rum and black, whisky and coke, spritzers. Watch a teenager take his first nip of whisky, neat. See that grimace? The dreadful surprise? The sudden gasp for air? That is not a person in the throes of pleasure. Whisky needs work, whisky needs time. Take the Coke out of whisky and it would play as big a part in teenage existence as steamed broccoli or a nice sports jacket. The Danes invented lager; teenagers invented lager top. Anything to remove the taste of malt and hops. So opening times and licensing laws are peripheral to the problem. No mixers to be purchased with alcohol by anyone under the age of 21. You want vodka, you drink it straight. Now weâll see what becomes of the binge. If the scheme takes off, it could be utilised in other areas. Want to stop kids smoking? Donât ban fags, ban filters. âSilk Cut Extra Mild? How old are you, son? Eighteen, I thought so. Well, you know the law. Right, weâve got Camel untipped, Gitanes, theyâre French, very nasty, an ounce of Old Holborn . . .â Ever smoked Gitanes? If this government were serious about public health it would be like National Service in the Fifties, compulsory at the age of 18. One a day, for a month. Nobody would go near a packet of cigarettes after that. The biggest laugh is that from 2003, France enforced the same âSmoking killsâ label that is carried on packets in Britain. What is the point? Smoking Gitanes actually tastes like a pact with death anyway. Presumably the French do it in the belief that, in heaven, an angel dispenses proper fags. Some years ago, the boxing correspondent of the now defunct Today newspaper was following up a story about injury and death in the ring. His investigation took him to the offices of the British Boxing Board of Control. Just as Today was a rookie newspaper, so its boxing man was an earnest sort, but lacking in experience. When the BBBCâs spokesman decided to have a little fun at his expense, he fell for it. The spokesman suggested a return to bare-knuckle bouts. âWhen you hit a fighter back then, he stayed hit,â he said. âThe gloves cause the damage because people take a pounding.â The reporter duly filed this story and unleashed PR hell. The funny thing was the basic logic of the wind-up was not far wrong. The more extreme an activity becomes, the less pleasurable it often is. Binge drinking on the current unprecedented scale is a direct result of quite literally sweetening the pill. Drink companies push sugary, high-alcohol products at people still young enough to be recently excited by the prospect of Easter eggs. Go figure that we then have a problem. Now, of course, exuberant overindulgence is a part of young adulthood. In America, the Christian right has espoused the Vow of Purity among teenagers. âI promise God, my future mate and myself, to keep my mind and body morally clean and pure so that when I enter the marriage covenant, I will be able to give myself with a completely clean conscience to my mate.â To their dismay, though, girls (and boys) just want to have fun and a recent study in the Journal of Adolescent Health discovered that those taking the vow were four times more likely to agree to oral or [edited] than those who did not, in the belief that their purity was not compromised. So, you see, there is a God. In other words, kids will be kids. They will do stupid stuff. Our duty is to keep a more watchful eye on the money-grabbing adults, peddling their sickly poisons and leaving the rest to sweep away the by-products of blood and vomit. What price licensing laws when the latest Bacardi Breezer creation is 22 per cent alcohol? Bet it doesnât taste that way, though. Bet it tastes like the best bubblegum in Willy Wonkaâs sweetshop. Quote from: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,21131-1755837,00.html I thought this might promote some debate.