Reducing harm caused by alcohol


Sales increase underlines need for minimum pricing

In response to the latest figures showing alcohol sales have increased in Scotland, Alison Douglas, Chief Executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland said:

"Scotland is now a nation of home drinkers, with more alcohol sold through supermarkets and off-licences than ever before. This has been driven by really low prices and constant promotions encouraging us to consume more.

"More than half of alcohol in supermarkets and off-licences is sold at less than 50p per unit, while a fifth costs less than 40p per unit. The very cheapest products under 30p per unit are mainly vodkas and strong ciders which are favoured by young, vulnerable and harmful drinkers.

"The more affordable alcohol is, the more we drink, and this means more alcohol-related hospital admissions, crime and deaths. Politicians across the Scottish Parliament understood this evidence when they passed minimum unit pricing legislation four years ago.

"It is really disappointing that this life-saving measure has been delayed by the Scotch Whisky Association’s legal challenge. Their defence of cheap vodka and cider is somewhat at odds with the ‘iconic’ image of Scotch.  Like the tobacco industry, the alcohol industry is placing profits before people’s health.

"With 22 Scots dying because of alcohol every single week and sales increasing, minimum pricing is desperately needed."

Alcohol consumption and price in Scotland 2015 

Dr Peter Rice, Chair of SHAAP said:

"NHS Health Scotland’s finding that much of Scotland’s excess drinking compared to England and Wales is due to low cost cider and vodka confirms the experience of front line clinicians. These are the drinks we hear about in GP surgeries, A&E departments, liver clinics and alcohol problems services.

"It is concerning that following several years of decline, overall consumption has risen for the past two years and alcohol related deaths have risen since 2013. Tackling low cost off sales alcohol is essential to improving health. This is the reason we called for Minimum Unit Price and why we continue to strongly support the policy."