Temperance: Its history and impact on current and future alcohol policy

Virginia Berridge
24th Nov 2005

An examination of the history of temperance, and how it can inform contemporary alcohol policy.

Concluding that the history of temperance offers many options for the present, this report explores the culture of drinking, and how it could be changed. In the past, temperance helped create an ethos which would now be called ‘social capital’. The report explores whether this culture can be brought up to date. It also discusses:

  • the role of the media ,pressure groups and local government;
  • the prominence given to women’s drinking;
  • the potential for religious influence in a multi-cultural society;
  • health messages about alcohol; and
  • alliances between medicine, public health and the police.

The report reviews the political possibilities for alcohol. It looks at whether those with an interest in health should work with the drinks industry, explores the role of international networks of influence and considers how the history of action against tobacco can inform future alcohol strategies.

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