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Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Time to tackle the affordability of alcohol

NICE have today published guidelines to tackle alcohol misuse.

BMA Cymru have been saying for some time that tough action is needed to tackle this issue. We are pleased that NICE is joining our call for a ban on alcohol advertising and the introduction of a minimum price per unit of alcohol.

Critics of minimum pricing should read the research by Dr Robin Purshouse on alcohol pricing - it makes for interesting reading. He estimates that a minimum price on every unit of 40 pence would result in about 1,000 fewer premature deaths a year, around 40,000 fewer hospital admissions a year, and about 10,000 fewer violent crimes and criminal damage incidents per year. Read his report here.

We are convinced that in order to tackle alcohol misuse a whole raft of measures is required, which include reducing availability, increasing taxes on drinks with the highest alcohol concentration, reducing the drink-driving limit and tackling advertising and minimum pricing.

We are not opposed to people drinking alcohol in moderation - what we want is to help people avoid using alcohol at levels which endanger their lives and those of others.

A few weeks ago we held a seminar on tackling alcohol abuse: an integrated approach forward. Watch it here.

What do you think about the recommendations from NICE?

1 comment:

  1. Well done for the BMA for giving such a stron lead on this subject which is an ever growing public health concern. I am sure that a mimimum pricing regime as well a linkage of tax levels to alcohol stength should be part of of any immediate response.

    There are also real opportunties to link this campaign with a range of wider issues.

    The Association has been active tackling domestic abuse where the links with alcohol abuse are well established. Reduced consumption would also make our roads and work places safer as well.

    Our wider communities also suffer from growing alcohol abuse not least due to anti-social behaviour and a wide range of related activites.

    It is somewhat paradoxical that at a time of high levels of alcohol use, we find so many of our traditional community pubs are closing. They just cannot compete with the ultra-cheap drink outlets.

    As well as being demoralising eyesores, the closure of local pubs is resulting in a loss of an important community asset and a much more regulated drinking environment.

    Perhaps some of the taxation raised on alcohol sales could be used to allow our local pubs to compete on a more even playing field?


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