An introduction to the issue of alcohol drinking and smoking in todays society

Not only is there a significant genetic component that is passed from generation to generation, but the drinking problems of a single family member affect all other family members. The family environment and genetics can perpetuate a vicious and destructive cycle. Domestic violence typically erupts when one or both spouses have been drinking, and drinking makes domestic violence more dangerous.

An introduction to the issue of alcohol drinking and smoking in todays society

Social and Cultural Aspects of Drinking Key findings One of the problems facing those concerned with the development of policies and legislation on alcohol issues is the sheer volume of research and publications on this subject.

In addition, these works span a variety of disciplines, and are often couched in academic jargon which may be incomprehensible to non-specialists. In this section, we therefore provide a brief, bullet-point summary of the key findings and significant generalisations that can be drawn from our survey of the literature on social and cultural aspects of alcohol.

History Alcohol has played a central role in almost all human cultures since Neolithic times about BC. All societies, without exception, make use of intoxicating substances, alcohol being by far the most common. There is convincing evidence that the development of agriculture - regarded as the foundation of civilisation - was based on the cultivation of grain for beer, as much as for bread.

The persistence of alcohol use, on a near-universal scale, throughout human evolution, suggests that drinking must have had some significant adaptive benefits, although this does not imply that the practice is invariably beneficial.

From the earliest recorded use of alcohol, drinking has been a social activity, and both consumption and behaviour have been subject to self-imposed social controls. Attempts at prohibition have never been successful except when couched in terms of sacred rules in highly religious cultures.

Behavioural effects There is enormous cross-cultural variation in the way people behave when they drink. In some societies such as the UK, Scandinavia, US and Australiaalcohol is associated with violent and anti-social behaviour, while in others such as Mediterranean and some South American cultures drinking behaviour is largely peaceful and harmonious.

This variation cannot be attributed to different levels of consumption or genetic differences, but is clearly related to different cultural beliefs about alcohol, expectancies regarding the effects of alcohol and social norms regarding drunken comportment.

The findings of both cross-cultural research and controlled experiments indicate that the effects of alcohol on behaviour are primarily determined by social and cultural factors, rather than the chemical actions of ethanol.

The prevalence of alcohol-related problems is not directly related to average per capita consumption: Alcohol-related problems are associated with specific cultural factors, relating to beliefs, attitudes, norms and expectancies about drinking. The beliefs and expectancies of a given culture can change.

Although some cultures experience more alcohol-related problems than others, moderate, unproblematic drinking is the norm in most cultures, while both excessive drinking and abstention are abnormal behaviours.

An introduction to the issue of alcohol drinking and smoking in todays society

Rules and regulation In all cultures, drinking is a rule-governed activity, hedged about with self-imposed norms and regulations concerning who may drink how much of what, when, how, in what contexts, with what effects, etc.

Proscription of solitary drinking 2. Prescription of sociability 3. Social control of consumption and behaviour 4. The literature to date offers no satisfactory explanation for the near-universality of restrictions on female drinking, as all researchers have attempted to explain this in purely cultural terms.

We suggest that the prevalence of such restrictions may be due to non-cultural factors such as differences in male and female physiology resulting in more pronounced effects of alcohol on females. Symbolic functions In all societies, alcoholic beverages are used as powerful and versatile symbolic tools, to construct and manipulate the social world.

As labels defining the nature of social situations or events 2. As indicators of social status 3. As statements of affiliation 4. This has nothing to do with any intrinsic properties of the beverages themselves - beer, for example, may be associated with disorderly behaviour in some cultures or sub-cultures and with benign sociability in others.

Some societies appear less susceptible to the cultural influence of alien beverages than others. This may in part reflect the generally higher social status of those adopting wine-drinking. Drinking-places Drinking is, in all cultures, essentially a social activity, and most societies have specific, designated environments for communal drinking.

Cross-cultural differences in the physical nature of public drinking-places reflect different attitudes towards alcohol.

The Impact of Alcohol Abuse on American Society - Alcoholics Victorious Headquarters

In all cultures, the drinking-place is a special environment, a separate social world with its own customs and values 2. Drinking-places tend to be socially integrative, egalitarian environments 3.

The primary function of drinking-places is the facilitation of social bonding. Transitional rituals In all societies, alcohol plays a central role in transitional rituals - both major life-cycle events and minor, everyday transitions. In terms of everyday transitions, cultures such as the US and UK in which alcohol is only used to mark the transition from work to play - where drinking is associated with recreation and irresponsibility, and regarded as antithetical to working - tend to have higher levels of alcohol-related problems.

Cultures in which drinking is an integral part of the normal working day, and alcohol may be used to mark the transition to work e. France, Spain, Perutend to have lower levels of alcohol-related problems.

Shifts away from traditional pre-work or lunchtime drinking in these cultures could be a cause for concern, as these changes can indicate a trend towards drinking patterns and attitudes associated with higher levels of alcohol-related problems. Festive rituals Alcohol is universally associated with celebration, and drinking is, in all cultures, an essential element of festivity.

In societies in which alcohol is a morally neutral element of normal life such as Italy, Spain and Francealcohol is strongly associated with celebration, but celebration is not invoked as a justification for every drinking occasion.

An introduction to the issue of alcohol drinking and smoking in todays society

Most national and cross-cultural studies of drinking in Europe have been of a purely quantitative, epidemiological nature and provide little or no insight into the social contexts and cultural roles of drinking.

This has led to an unbalanced perspective.Parallels and contrasts between tobacco smoking and alcohol drinking are considered, in terms of harms, cultural positioning, and a Introduction Nicotine and alcohol, along with caffeine, are the most that the smoking or drinking provides short-term psychological beneļ¬ts .

Given overwhelming evidence for the primacy of sociocultural factors in determining both drinking patterns and their consequences, it is clear that ethnographic research findings on the social and cultural roles of alcohol may have important implications for policy-makers. Underage drinking prevention efforts must recognize the alcohol issue may be part of a larger substance abuse prevention effort.

A Factor in Many Serious Family Problems

It is important, therefore, to insure the underage drinking issue does not become lost but remains on the agenda. INTRODUCTION Smoking is a practice in which a substance, Cultural Anthropology Prof Liddy 18 April The Effects of Alcohol in Society and Culture When alcohol is introduced to a culture or society, it can often affect it in many different ways.

The outcomes can be violent or can cause peace among people. This is an issue that will. Alcohol as a Gateway - Alcohol and heavy drinking throughout Canada plays a distinctive role in instigating other key addictions.

Drinking and consumption abuse . Alcohol remains the number one drug portrayed on American television: 1 drinking scene is shown every 22 minutes, compared with 1 smoking scene every 57 minutes and 1 illicit drug use scene every minutes.

84 On Music Television (MTV), teenagers can see alcohol use every 14 minutes.

Social Issues And Alcoholism -