January 19, 2010
In an effort to keep people from drinking, the UK is banning having fun while drinking.
LONDON (Reuters) - Tough new rules for pubs and clubs -- including a ban on drinking games like the infamous "dentist's chair" -- will be introduced in Britain this year in a bid to curb a heavy drinking culture that costs the country billions of a pounds a year.
Other promotions like "all you can drink for 10 pounds ($16)," speed drinking competitions and "women drink free" nights will also be prohibited.
But, controversially, bulk offers of cheap alcohol in supermarkets -- widely regarded as one of the main sources of Britain's problems with under-age and excessive drinking -- will not be affected.
Home Secretary Alan Johnson said he did not want to target responsible drinkers on low incomes, but that the government and the industry had a duty to act on booze-fueled promotions.
"These practices have a real impact on society, not to mention the lives of those who just want to enjoy a good night out," he said.
The dentist's chair, where drinks are poured directly into the mouth by others, was made famous by the celebrations of footballer Paul Gascoigne at Euro '96.
It will be banned from April and publicans will have to ensure free tap water is made available to revelers.
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