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Western Europeans brought their drinking patterns, formed in antiquity, to the new world. Because of vast cultural differences in these drinking norms, in combination with political and social forces, anti-alcohol and prohibition movements have occurred in the United States. These have often been part of social reform cycles, sometimes called "clean living movements," where concerns about tobacco, diet, pure water, exercise and social conditions have also been common. The current movement started in the late 1970s. It has resulted in modifications of public policy and education concerning alcohol. Some of the changes since the beginning of this reform cycle have included the raising of the legal purchase age for alcoholic beverages, warning labels on alcoholic beverages, government agencies suggesting abstinence from alcohol, severe penalties for drunken driving, and lowering of blood alcohol concentration for impaired driving. Although the per capita consumption of alcohol has continued to decline since 1980 among the populace as a whole, and among underage drinkers, there has actually been an increase in alcohol related problems, other than vehicular crashes, among youth despite these measures. This current wave of anti-alcohol reform appears to have begun to wane. This is symbolized by increased publications of research showing an association between health and longevity with small amounts of alcohol, recent federal guidelines encouraging moderate drinking and the lowering of drinking age in one state. It is now time to rethink restrictive policies and educational programs implemented during the past 15 years and develop more sensible and balanced approaches to alcohol education and public policy in the United States of America.
The three temperance cycles and their etiology are examined. Related articles on origins of drinking patterns and attitudes in western Europe from antiquity and the influence of the Roman Empire, its continued influence on modern society including American Prohibition and temperance cycles, alcohol control policies, attitudes and beverage preferences due to religion, climate, and European homeland can be found at the following IUScholarWorks links: http://hdl.handle.net/2022/17452; http://hdl.handle.net/2022/17143; http://hdl.handle.net/2022/17139; http://hdl.handle.net/2022/17148; http://hdl.handle.net/2022/17149; http://hdl.handle.net/2022/17485; http://hdl.handle.net/2022/17484
Drinking, Clean living movement, history, anti-alcohol, temperance movements, Prohibition, social reform movements, Roman Empire, western European drinking cultures, alcohol
Engs, R. (1996) HAS THE AMERICAN CLEAN LIVING (ANTI-ALCOHOL) MOVEMENT CRESTED? Paper presented: Kettil Bruun Alcohol Epidemiological Conference, Edinburgh, Scotland, June 1996. Retrieved from the IUScholar Works repository at: http://hdl.handle.net/2022/17145
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