'Assault on pleasure' threatens drinking habits

09 March, 2007

A growing number of Europeans want their governments to campaign to limit the amount people drink in their own homes - and consumers' drinking habits are coming under increasing pressure in a "culture of disapproval", according to consumer research company The Future Foundation.

Speaking at the IBC, Future Foundation chief executive Paul Flatters said there is growing support for a large-scale "assault on pleasure" in European societies. More and more people want to see government curbs on anything from four-wheel drives in city centres to sweets and drinks in schools.

Research by The Future Foundation's NVision arm found that 36 per cent of people in 14 European countries wanted to see their governments campaign to reduce the amount people drink at home.

Flatters described nearly 40 per cent of those questioned in the poll as "new Puritans", while just over 40 per cent were in the "battleground" - and only some 10 per cent could be described as "libertarians" who are not in favour of more legislation on leisure activities.

"Without producing formal regulations, there is a culture of disapproval," said Flatters. "For example, if you live in central London and want to drive an SUV, you might think your neighbours will disapprove of you so you won't buy one.

"It is not just about actual regulation, it is about self-censorship that is present in a society which has an extended interest in everybody else's indulgences."

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