Guernsey Press

Our complex relationship with alcohol

PUBLIC Health turning its attentions to addressing the health issues caused by alcohol is almost inevitably going to get complicated.


The local health authorities can claim success in tackling smoking – though maybe it’s reached the point where further progress may be difficult – and it seems that vaping, as we know it, will also be on the way out soon.

Few tears are shed. Those involved in that sector know that they are trading on borrowed time. Diversify, or die.

In contrast, getting preventative over alcohol, specifically by increasing duty, is fraught with difficulty. Smoking and vaping don’t have hospitality, and indirectly, the visitor economy, to factor in, when considering decisions on health.

Public Health is concerned about a culture which ‘normalises alcohol consumption at harmful levels’.

But younger people don’t always drink in the way their parents used to. Times are already changing, but arguably there’s no clear pattern for Public Health to latch on to.

The discrepancy between shop prices (still often in the region of £1 for a can of beer) compared to pubs and bars (upwards of £5 or £6 a pint) further confuses the position with regards to addressing price. If you think shop prices can wear a hike, less so the hospitality end of the market.

Guernsey has not been a ‘cheap booze’ destination for some time – but we need to be careful about damaging an already fragile sector of the economy.