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article imageU.K. considering minimum alcohol pricing

By Tim Sandle     Nov 26, 2012 in Health
A U.K. government agency has come out in support of proposals for a minimum price for alcoholic drinks. The idea is that by stopping alcoholic drinks from being sold too cheaply, this will deter vulnerable people.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has backed a report suggesting that minimum alcohol pricing will help protect young people. The report which NICE is supporting has been jointly produced by the campaign groups Alcohol Concern and Balance.
The report, which comes ahead of the national Alcohol Awareness Week, states that cheap alcohol encourages young people to drink to excess, thus making them more susceptible to negative health consequences. According to Sky News, alcohol is 44% more affordable now in relative terms than it was in 1980.
The Daily Mail notes that young people, in the North East of England, can buy a 3 liter bottle of cider for less than admission to the cinema
According to research within the report, almost two-thirds of the 16 to 24-year-olds agree that cheap alcohol promotions encourage drinking to get drunk, while buy-one-get-one-free deals, often seen in supermarkets, also persuade many to purchase more alcohol than they otherwise would.
For the research 1,000 young people aged between 16 and 24 were interviewed by research agency YouthSite in March 2012.
The report concludes that making alcohol less affordable is the most effective way of reducing alcohol-related harm, using market forces (price) as a deterrent. This is summed up by Tom Smith, Program Policy Manager, Alcohol Concern, who is quoted in a press release as saying:
"This report is further proof of the impact cheap alcohol is having on the health and well-being of our young people. They have told us loud and clear that the way in which alcohol is priced influences the way they drink. We also know that our young people are more likely to have experienced being drunk by the age of 13 than their peers in almost any other European country. This survey shows just how urgent action on Minimum Unit Pricing is and we're calling on the Government to set a 50p minimum unit price without delay."
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