Campaigners make case for tougher alcohol measures
24 January 2013
Alcohol campaigners are pressing the government for a minimum alcohol unit price of 50p and tougher licensing laws to help tackle problem drinking.
In response to a Home Office consultation, which proposed a 45p minimum price, the AHA (Alcohol Health Alliance), of which the BMA is a part, says 50p per unit would go even further in reducing the harm caused by problem drinking.
It points out that modelling by Sheffield University indicates that a 50p minimum price would prevent an additional 1,000 deaths, 31,000 alcohol-related hospital admissions and 18,000 crimes than a 45p per unit price.
BMA director of professional activities Vivienne Nathanson said: ‘Doctors witness the human cost of alcohol misuse every day, from emergency admissions to hospital to witnessing the damage to health caused by alcohol misuse on patients and their families.
'The evidence shows that more lives will be saved if the minimum price is set at 50p therefore the BMA is calling on the government to listen to the evidence and set it at this level.’
The AHA response adds that minimum pricing should not be seen in isolation but as part of a ‘comprehensive strategy that addresses the price, promotion and availability of alcohol’.
The AHA also calls for an end to ‘any promotion that encourages or rewards greater [alcohol] consumption than intended’ including price-based promotions, happy hours, and ‘mobile sales’, such as shots sold from a tray or dispensed from a tank at a table.
The BMA is finalising its own response to the consultation, Alcohol Strategy 2012, which covers England and Wales.
Scotland is already pursuing a 50p per unit minimum price, which the BMA strongly supports.