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Christian Lobbies vs AWOL
Saturday, 23rd June, 2007 Posted by Beren @ 13:51:21

I have recently seen a few articles online about Alcohol Without Liquid (AWOL), such as this most recent one here. I am not generally in favour of government protecting people from themselves. Obviously in some cases it’s needed, especially if their behaviour is affecting others around them (especially if children are involved). But in this instance I don’t personally believe that AWOL falls into that category. So in general terms I disagree with the concept of outlawing these devices for the current reasons being given.

My major beef, and the reason I have posted this opinion, is that what one does see on this issue is christian groups pushing for them to be outlawed. I am all in favour of active christian advocacy, but it’s a shame to see people who are active chasing something like this. They argue that by using these devices side step hang overs which argue are punishment for sinning. Further that using the device accelerates the process of intoxication.

Now both of these things may well be true, and I would like to see actual evidence of the former beyond the marketing spiel of the company selling the devices. But at the end of the day the devices take 20 min to get an amount of alcohol equal to a normal shot, further the recommended usage is only twice in 24 hours. So anyone who is actually going to get drunk (and thus effect others around them) is going to drink a lot more alcohol in the old fashion liquid form, and in all likely hood get each of their shots much faster. It takes literally seconds to down a shot and then order a second. Sure, the vapour based system, shot for shot, affects a user faster, but you can ingest a far greater amount in the same time in the traditional fashion before it takes effect. So you could easily have 3 or 4 shots before noticing any real effect. So in reality the vapour based system can actually slows the ingestion rate of alcohol by users. Further as it acts faster the user gets the “high” quicker without drinking more in the mean time. So it could feasibly reduce the amount consumed on the whole.

Those comments about its use are one thing, but what about the campaign to stop its use. In one sense I can understand that the christian lobby groups see something about alcohol and try to do the right thing, and cut down on usage. They probably fund all sorts of social programs and try to stop all sorts of alcohol related things (to reduce the need for social programs at the other end). They think they are doing the right thing. However, if you look at whom else is fighting for this to be outlawed in the U.S you notice something: one of the biggest lobbyists against AWOL is Diageo and another is DISCUS. Who are they? Oh just the biggest beer, wine and sprits companies in the world (Diageo is the biggest, DISCUS is a coalition). And guess what. They don’t own AWOL; they are a competitor in the liquor market. The christian lobby groups are acting as the bad press lightning rod for massive corporations who are protecting their profit margins.

So what we have here again is christian lobbies in the press, getting the usual “If we think it's wrong, it should be illegal.” tag. Meanwhile what is really going on is liquor companies are probably funding politician’s campaigns purely to keep the status quo. It is just like the Christian lobbies blocking the .xxx domain name for porn (which would allow very easy filtering of pornographic content, allowing children to be protected) again, with the Porn industry being the not so vocal partner in the debate, happily letting the Christians do the dirty work for them.

Personally I would rather christians didn’t get the bad press such a device. Although, I personally think it’s all a moot point, having seen the devices in action most people I know (christian and non-christian inclusive) did not see the appeal. A novelty sure, but not really a thing they could see themselves use on a regular basis. The social aspect is somewhat lacking compared to traditional liquid based alcohol. Their efforts are much better off with the existing causes of alcohol abuse (generally), smoking (come on people it kills), and drugs such as cocaine/heroin/meth.

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