IMAT 2017 Q19 [Argument | Drinking Restrictions]

Widespread underage drinking in certain countries prompted their governments to place restrictions on selling alcohol to young people. The aim was to protect young people’s health, but the result was not as intended. Soon after the restrictions were in place, hospitals saw several cases of young people becoming ill as a result of drinking alcohol-based liquids such as medical spirits, ethanol solutions and perfumes. The young people claimed that the restriction on legal alcohol was the main reason they were drinking other substances. If the restrictions were abolished, the health risk would be reduced.

Which one of the following is the best statement of the flaw in the above argument?

A. It assumes that restrictions encourage young people to drink alcohol.

B. It ignores the role of education in encouraging young people to drink alcohol responsibly.

C. It ignores the problem of people drinking dangerous substances because they cannot afford to buy alcohol legally.

D. It does not take into account the social and cultural importance of drinking alcohol.

E. It ignores the fact that if there had been no restrictions more young people would have suffered from drinking alcohol.

Reminder:

  • Read the question first
  • Read the passage
  • Find the conclusion, highlight keywords
  • Find assumptions that the argument lies on
  • Attack these assumptions with the answer options
  • Discard any invalid options and you’ll have your answer

The flaw in the argument needs to show that they may have actually been right to install this ban in place because the author is trying to argue against it.

A. It assumes that restrictions encourage young people to drink alcohol.

This is not a flaw in the argument, the ban is not encouraging people to drink because it is restricting access. The issue is that this ban forces young people who are going to drink regardless to drink more dangerous substances. Therefore A is incorrect.

B. It ignores the role of education in encouraging young people to drink alcohol responsibly.

This is another irrelevant option. Education is not even brought up in this passage so the flaw cannot be related to it. Therefore B is incorrect.

C. It ignores the problem of people drinking dangerous substances because they cannot afford to buy alcohol legally.

The problem is not that they cannot afford it - young people have been banned from buying it so they have to resort to what they can get their hands on, which are the stronger alcohol-based liquids. Therefore C is incorrect.

D. It does not take into account the social and cultural importance of drinking alcohol.

This is not really relevant. Although we all know that there is the social and cultural importance of drinking alcohol, this is not relevant or touched upon in this passage. Therefore D is incorrect.

E. It ignores the fact that if there had been no restrictions more young people would have suffered from drinking alcohol.

The author is saying that the health risk would be reduced if the restrictions were abolished, but they are hiding the number of hospitalizations before this restriction came into place. Although there are recorded hospital cases now, there may be more in the future, and this may actually be a large reduction which would justify the restrictions. Therefore E is correct.