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Friday, 10 October 2008

Should we call time on cheap booze

Reports that a leading supermarket is selling cans of lager for less than the equivalent in bottled water, is nothing short of scandalous.

If true, then BMA Cymru Wales was right in calling for a series of tough new measures to limit the availability of cheap booze.

Last year, we unveiled a series of specific policy calls. These include:

A national roll-out of local schemes to outlaw the consumption of alcohol in public streets;

An increase in funding of services designed to treat alcoholism and alcohol-related illnesses;

Doctors to take a lead by helping to change both attitudes and behaviour with respect to the misuse of alcohol;

An increase in taxation on drinks containing alcohol, with taxation proportionate to the amount of alcohol in the product.

These proposals followed the publication of BMA Cymru Wales’ four point plan to tackle Wales’ alcohol problem.

The plan calls for:

A Licensing Measure to end deep discounting of alcohol for sale in off licences, supermarkets and other off sales outlets.

Research into the measures by which pricing mechanisms can be used in Wales to discourage heavy consumption of high alcohol products.

Legislate for alcohol labelling rather than relying on voluntary agreements with the drinks industry.

Reduce the drink driving limit from 80mg to 50mg and introduce random breath testing in Wales.

The BMA remains focused on offering practical solutions to Wales’ growing drink problem. This comprehensive set of measures is designed to cover a variety problem areas. It’s now up to the Assembly Government, in partnership with the UK Government, to ensure that these policies are taken forward. After smoking, alcohol is the next big public health issue.

The Government needs to get to grips with the problem.

1 comment:

  1. There are knock-on effects with cheap booze, not just economic effects (price goes down, consumption goes up).

    Pubs are suffering at the hands of cheap booze in supermarkets and off-licences, we are seeing less violence in our city and town centres - good thing perhaps?

    People are buying alcohol from supermarkets, off-licences etc to drink at home; this has lead to a rise in domestic violence.

    Ask any drug and alcohol worker!

    G. Lewis


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