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France Taking the Happy Out of Happy Hour. Non Booze, Merci.

The French may soon be saying au revoir to happy hours and bottle service in clubs. The government body in charge of reducing drug and alcohol addiction is proposing these measures, in an attempt to stop binge drinking among those who try to get liquored up on the cheap, and those who are looking to go all out by buying bottles of hard liquor and the accompanying VIP treatment.

Other proposed measures seem less extreme, such as raising the legal age to purchase beer and wine from 16 to 18 years old. The French government also hopes to end open bar deals, where patrons pay a base fee for all they can drink.

France isn't the only country concerned with rising rates of binge drinking. To see who else is sobering up,


Scotland's government promised "radical measures" such as raising the drinking age to 21. Australia recently doubled the tax on premixed alcoholic beverages.

Are the French plans examples of detrimental governmental interference with healthy business competition? Since France has already banned the patriotic nightclub cigarette, perhaps the vodka bottles are fair game. Should drinking establishments be allowed to attract customers with schemes that encourage alcohol consumption? What would be an effective way of discouraging such a dangerous habit like binge drinking?

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