Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Can't argue with his logic

"Where does alcohol come from? Don't they produce these drinks from fruits? Eat fruits instead of drinking then!"

-Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, accepting an award from the WHO on a remarkably successful indoor smoking ban (which has had the wonderful consequence of even more outdoor seating at restaurants). I suspect his campaign to reduce alcohol consumption will not succeed through rational persuasion alone, but the extremely high taxes his party have imposed, along with reduction in liquor and bar licenses perhaps will: a bottle of raki that cost 9 lira 8 years ago now costs 35 lira!

Erdogan chose the WHO platform to make these remarks, but is this a health issue? Perhaps, but there are certainly larger health concerns in Turkey: Turks consume 1.4 liters of alcohol per year, compared to 9.o in neighboring Greece, and 4.4 in indulging Qatar. Car accidents are a larger problem: almost 500,000 per year, with 4,500 fatalities, but it is not clear how many were due to drunk driving, versus everyday erratic driving.

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