LONDON - Soon Britons will be able to get smashed at the pub while their pint glasses won't.
The shatterproof pint glass was proudly unveiled Thursday by government officials who swore the country would save billions in health care costs with a glass that doesn't double as a lethal weapon.
But noticeably, no officials were talking about reforming the British binge-drinking culture at the root of the problem.
There are about 87,000 alcohol-related glass attacks each year, with many resulting in hospital visits, Home Secretary Alan Johnson said as he introduced the two prototype shatterproof pint glasses.
"Glassing causes horrific injuries and has a lasting and devastating impact on victims and their families," Johnson said. "I hope these designs will help bring an end to such attacks."
Two types of shatterproof technologies are in the works: one has a thin bio-resin coating on the inside that strengthens it, and the other bonds two thin layers of glass together in the same way as car windshields. Both are difficult to break and keep the shards together if they do fracture, rendering them useless as weapons.
Half of all violent assaults in Britain are alcohol-related, and it has become common for drinkers to smash glasses and use them as weapons, he added.
In the North London neighborhood of Camden, bartender Mirjam Linzie said the staff at the Elephants Head pub would welcome safer glasses: "One time there was a big fight, and 50 pints were smashed in one minute. There was glass raining. People were hiding behind the counter." - AP