VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Recent changes to Vancouver’s liquor policies may not be popular with everyone, but the province’s Chief Medical Health Officer believes they are more responsible.
No grocery store in the province is allowed to carry international wines on store shelves, but about a dozen cities allow local BC VQA wines to be sold in grocery stores.
But Vancouver grocers who want to put BC wine on their store shelves are out of luck after a recent vote by the Vancouver city council. Instead, the city will allow grocers to have liquor stores within their stores.
Critics have been speaking out against the ban, but Doctor Perry Kendall supports the “store within a store” model as a safer option.
Kendall says studies have shown increased availability leads to people drinking more alcohol which is addictive, carcinogenic and kills liver, as well as brain cells.
“We have so normalized alcohol that we’re treating it as a normal good without realizing that globally, it’s probably the third cause of preventable mortality,” he says.
“As per capita consumption goes up, there’s a direct correlation with harms, whether that’s domestic violence or fights or hospitalizations or kids born with a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.”
Kendall adds it’s important to understand alcohol kills liver cells, brain cells, is carcinogenic and is the most common preventable cause of mental retardation.
“If you increase access and availability to alcohol, people will tend to drink more and if people drink more, then we tend to see more harms coming from it because not everybody drinks responsibly.”