secondhand drinking
n. A negative effect that a drinker has on a non-drinker.

Example Citations:
I am in favor of a smoking ban but not without something being done about a drinking ban. Yes, there is something valid about secondhand smoke, but look at the innocent people affected by people who are drunk. Nobody talks about secondhand drinking! Drinking has caused not only car accidents but child abuse, spouse abuse, broken families, homelessness and much more. These abuses weren't caused by smokers but by drinkers.
—Kathy Banaszak, "Smoking ban" [letter],, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, January 7, 2008

Rowdy, drunken sports fans have caused mayhem and injury during and after sporting events on all levels.

Significant property damage has been caused by many an individual either participating in reckless vandalism because he or she was intoxicated, or as the result of someone who saw fit to drive after drinking and subsequently hit a tree, a parked car or a house.

Do not dare to claim that secondhand drinking isn't a realistic health concern.
—Peggy Schick, "Secondhand drinking" [letter],, Chicago Tribune, January 27, 2007

Earliest Citation:
While mounting their crusade against tobacco, its disciples whisper not a word about alcohol consumption, which exacts pain and suffering on society, directly and indirectly, at least in equal measure as tobacco products. No cries for designating alcohol a "drug," even though it is America's No. 1 drug of choice. No minute inquiry into the ingredients and chemical additives in booze, brews and vintages. No debate over alcohol's "addictiveness." No warnings about the dangers of "secondhand drinking," even though it kills and maims innocent people by the thousands, breaks up families, imposes costs in the workplace that all of us pay.
—Paul Thomas, "Tobacco Fight Political" [letter],, Chicago Sun-Times, May 16, 1994

Notes:
This phrase is, of course, a play on the common term secondhand smoking. Interestingly, all the citations for this phrase are from letters to the editor, which is a reflection that secondhand drinking is a grassroots phrase. That is, it seems to be bubbling up from use by regular folk rather than trickling down from use by the media, politicians, entertainers, etc. There are many variations on the pure noun form, including secondhand alcohol, secondhand liquor, and secondhand booze.

Related Words:

Categories: