It’s been a long road but doctors and health experts are finally welcoming a minimum unit price for alcohol as the pioneering law comes into force in Scotland. The new 50p floor price aims to tackle Scotland’s unhealthy relationship with drink by raising the cost of cheap, high-strength products.
The Scottish Government warned retailers they will have no grace period to alter prices and shops will be targeted for spot checks.
Minimum pricing was delayed for a decade by opposition MSPs and a legal challenge led by the Scotch Whisky Association. Holyrood opponents eventually changed their minds and the Supreme Court upheld the legislation last November.
If your drink of choice is already being sold for more than the minimum price, then it will likely remain unchanged. But if it is currently being sold for less than the minimum price, you can expect the cost to rise to at least the minimum level.
For example, if a 9.8 unit bottle of wine is currently being sold for £3.50 in your local supermarket, it will set you back at least £4.90.
Dr Peter Bennie, chairman of the British Medical Association in Scotland, said:
“It has been a long road but I am delighted that the persistence of alcohol campaigners, with strong BMA support, has paid off and minimum pricing has finally taken effect.
Minimum unit pricing is a policy that will help to save lives and reduce alcohol harms in Scotland. It will help to reduce the burden of alcohol on our health service, on society, and most importantly on individuals and their families.
This is an important milestone for Scotland. Other parts of the world will now be watching the implementation with great interest.”
Bennie said the alcohol industry discovered it cannot expect to block policies designed to protect health.
“Alcohol causes 1100 cases of cancer every year in Scotland. The less alcohol you drink, the lower your risk of cancer. A minimum unit price is one action among many that will help reduce how much alcohol is consumed in Scotland.”
Professor Linda Bauld, Deputy Director of UKCTAS
The law only covers Scotland, leading to loopholes for online purchases. Guidance last month stated that supermarket meal deals where wine is included are unlikely to be affected. Retailers are also advised that “click-and-collect” purchases won’t be covered by the law if cheap drinks are first sent from outside Scotland. Customers can buy over the internet or by phone from a business in England. A delivery firm down south would be allowed to send drink to customers in Scotland.
“I am proud the eyes of the world will once again be on Scotland with the introduction of this legislation.”
“Scotland has the highest rate of alcohol-related deaths in the UK. I hope we will see that change.”
Health Secretary Shona Robison
12 years apart but arguably the most important measures to improve population health introduced in Scotland for decades. MUP will be robustly evaluated, as was smokefree legislation in Scotland. As with smokefree, the results should provide evidence of international importance. pic.twitter.com/ZAVnB3cFBz
Fact! Minimum unit pricing only impacts the cheapest, strongest products sold in supermarkets and shops. Drinks in pubs and restaurants are already priced over 50p a unit so will be untouched. #MUPsaveslives
The 5th annual E-Cigarette Summit was held at the Royal Society in London on Friday 17th November 2017. Linda Bauld, Robert West and several other members of the UKCTAS network presented their research at the event to a large audience of other scientists, policy makers, medical and public health professionals and e-cigarette stakeholders. The presentations included the latest evidence on the safety of e-cigarettes for users and bystanders, usage in young people and non-smokers, advertising and marketing, use in public places and the conflicts arising from the tobacco industry’s dual corporate ownership of tobacco harm reduction products and cigarettes.
To view the slides from each presentation and the full list of videos click here.
Robert West (University College London) & Linda Bauld (University of Stirling):
Lion Shahab (University College London) & Jamie Hartmann-Boyce (University of Oxford):
Deborah Arnott (ASH) & Martin Dockrell (Public Health England):
Every year in the United Kingdom around 200 000 children start smoking. Half of those who try a cigarette will become regular smokers, putting themselves at risk of tobacco related diseases that can shorten their lifespan by at least a decade. Because of this, the UK and other governments have implemented a range of tobacco control measures over many years, which are intended to both prevent smoking uptake and encourage smoking cessation. Key among these have been measures to restrict the ability of the tobacco industry to market their products to new and existing smokers.
Firstly, traditional forms of advertising such as TV and billboards were banned, followed by sports sponsorship, and, most recently, point of sale displays in shops. All that was left was tobacco packaging: a way to communicate to consumers the appeal of the product and to promote different brands.
My team at the University of Stirling has conducted research on tobacco marketing for many years, funded by Cancer Research UK. Most recently we undertook our own studies on tobacco packaging, and then in 2011 were commissioned by the Department of Health to review all the evidence on plain or “standard packs.” Our review provided the basis for a UK consultation on the issue. At the time we found 37 studies, conducted in different countries and using a variety of research designs. Their findings were consistent. The studies showed that standard packs are: less appealing, increase the visibility and effectiveness of health warnings, and reduce the ability of packaging to mislead people about the harms of smoking.
The Government’s current alcohol guidelines are unrealistic and largely ignored because they have little relevance to people’s drinking habits!
~According to a new report by the University of Sheffield’s Alcohol Research Group (SARG) in collaboration with the University of Sterling.
The study, which is the first of its kind, explored how drinkers make sense of the current UK drinking guidelines which suggest men should not regularly exceed three to four units of alcohol a day, while women should not regularly drink more than two to three units daily.
Leading researchers from the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, which includes the University of Sheffield’s School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) and the Institute for Social Marketing at the University of Stirling conducted focus groups to see how the current guidelines were perceived by people aged between 19-65 years-old and from varied socioeconomic backgrounds.
The findings, published yesterday (5 August 2015) in the journal Addiction, show that the guidelines are generally disregarded as the daily intake suggestions are deemed irrelevant in a country where most people don’t drink everyday but may drink heavily at the weekend.
The results also revealed that people think the recommended quantities of drink are unrealistic, as they don’t recognise that many people are motivated to drink to get drunk.Continue reading →