March 7, 2009

France sees increase in binge-drinking

The French parliament says a rise in binge-drinking has prompted it to ban bars where customers can drink as much as they want for a fixed price.

The new law also increases the drinking age in France from 16 to 18, The Daily Telegraph reported Saturday.

France once prided itself on being a nation of reasonable drinkers who knew how to limit their alcohol consumption and avoid the excesses of binge-drinking seen in neighboring Britain, the Telegraph said.

In recent years, however, drunken incidents involving minors in France began to change that image, the British newspaper reported, noting hospital admissions of young people due to alcohol-related causes rose by 50 percent in France between 2004-2007.

Adults in France have cut their annual alcohol consumption by half during the last 50 years while young people are increasing their use of alcohol at an alarming rate, say federal statistics considered by parliament.