Vice Squad
Tuesday, February 24, 2004
Anti-Halitosis v. Anti-Alcohol

Alcohol is used for a variety of non-beverage purposes, and these alternate uses greatly complicate the enforcement of high alcohol taxes or strict anti-alcohol beverage regulations. Thus the 18th Amendment in the US forbade the manufacture, sale, transport, or import of alcohol used in intoxicating beverages, leaving sacramental, industrial, and medicinal alcohol legal -- and thereby providing routes to evade the beverage restrictions. (See our earlier post on the Jamaican Ginger paralysis.) Parts of Australia with significant alcohol problem have recently adopted strict new alcohol controls, and concerns have been raised about inducing the use of alcohol-rich mouthwash -- ugh -- for beverage purposes. (If the Soviet example is a prelude, keep your eye on cologne sales, too.) So, naturally, mouthwash sales are also being watched. But not to worry, the quality of breath in Queensland need not suffer. The government minister overseeing the regulations "said she would continue to monitor the sale of mouthwash, but said a careful balance had to be maintained so as not to disadvantage people using the product for its intended purpose." Phew.

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