The French wine industry will be raising a glass to MPs on Thursday after they voted in favour of relaxing France's stringent laws around the advertising of alcohol.
These are the famous Evin laws which ban alcohol advertising in many places and limit what remains to the bare bones of basic information. A gaggle of temperance groups in the UK are itching to copy this model, naturellement.
France’s tight controls over advertising of alcohol were brought in back in 1991 as part of a bid to cut a worrying rise in alcohol consumption - especially among young people.
As you would expect from the economic evidence on advertising, the Evin laws had no effect on aggregate consumption or drunkenness. Since France banned alcohol advertising "there's now a real trend among French youths to drink more regularly, usually at weekends; to drink more; to drink outside, in the streets; and to drink in order to get smashed".
Read the whole article for the details of why the Evin laws have been relaxed (lobbying from the wine industry, basically). It includes this gem:
Claude Evin, the man behind the 1991 law, who is now head of the Ile-de-France health association said the change would be a slippery slope and effectively lead to “any kind of advertising” being allowed.