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RESEARCH

People with tattoos ‘more likely to be boozers’

 

French scientists said on Monday they have found evidence proving the stereotype that people who sport tattoos and piercings are heavier drinkers.

 

Alcohol tests performed on nearly 2,000 young men and women frequenting bars in the west of France showed a strong correlation between body art and boozing, they said.

“Pierced and/or tattooed individuals had consumed more alcohol in bars on a Saturday night than patrons in the same bars who were non-pierced and non-tattooed,” said a study for the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

Previous research had shown that people with tattoos and piercings were more likely to engage in unsafe sex, fighting and heavy drinking, but this was the first such project to measure more alcohol per litre of exhaled breath.

The subjects were tested as they left 21 bars in four cities on four different Saturday nights on the Atlantic Coast of Brittany, an area with high alcohol consumption, said the researchers.

The men and women were asked whether they had tattoos or piercings and then asked to take a breathalyser test.

Tattoos and piercings are relatively new phenomena in France, and under-18s need permission from their parents.

The men tested were on average 20.6 years old and the women 20.2 years.

Of 1,081 men interviewed, 903 had no body art and an average measure of 0.18 milligrams of alcohol per litre of exhaled air, lower than France’s 0.25 drink driving limit.

The figure increased to 0.19 in the 98 men with tattoos, 0.23 percent for the 53 men with piercings, and 0.26 for the 27 men with both.

Of the 884 women, 537 had no body art and an average alcohol measure of 0.12, which rose to 0.14 for the 124 with tattoos, 0.20 for the 138 with piercings, and 0.24 for the 85 women with both tattoos and piercings.

Researcher Nicolas Gueguen of France’s Universite de Bretagne-Sud, said the findings showed that teachers, parents and doctors should consider tattoos and piercings as potential “markers” for alcohol abuse.

But fellow scientist Myrna Armstrong from Texas Tech University, who reviewed the paper, cautioned against a “tendency to see a tattoo or piercing and automatically profile or stereotype that individual as a ‘high-risk person’.”

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ALCOHOL

French national park bans alcohol over the summer months

A French national park has banned alcohol over the summer months after a spate of accidents.

French national park bans alcohol over the summer months
The gorges of the Ardèche are known as the 'French grand canyon' Photo: AFP

The gorges of the Ardèche region – a national park in southern France very popular with hikers, campers and canoeists – has banned alcohol from the campsites and the river until September 30th.

“Hikers and boaters are prohibited from keeping alcoholic beverages for consumption in the bivouacs of Gaud and Gournier [the only areas where camping in the gorges is permitted] and on the river domain,” said the order issued by the Préfect of the Ardèche.


The area is very popular for canoeing. Photo: AFP

The temporary order began on May 1st and runs until September 30th.

The ban is intended to “put an end to the many accidents caused by drunkenness”, the préfecture told FranceInfo, which also specifies that regular checks will be carried out and that non-compliance with this order will be subject to sanctions.

Over previous summer seasons fighting, dangerous behaviour and drunken accidents have become a problem for police and park warders in the area.

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