Reducing harm caused by alcohol

Campaigns & Policy

Alcohol Focus Scotland campaigns for evidence-based policies to reduce alcohol-related harm.

Increase Price

Broadening understanding of, and support for, minimum unit pricing as well as for complementary tax increases at UK level.

Control Sales

Encouraging controls on where, when and how alcohol is sold. Ensuring the effective implementation of licensing legislation by supporting licensing boards and forums to promote the licensing objectives.

Restrict Marketing

Encouraging controls on the scale and extent of alcohol marketing, in particular to protect children and young people from exposure to it.

Effective alcohol policy

How can we reduce alcohol harm?

International evidence shows that effective alcohol policy encompasses a range of interventions aimed at the whole population, with particular targeting of high risk groups.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends these effective policies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol:

  • Raise taxes on alcohol
  • Restrict access to retailed alcohol
  • Enforce bans on alcohol advertising
  • Enforce drink-driving laws (breath testing)
  • Offer brief advice for hazardous drinking

Which approaches are least effective in reducing alcohol harm?

The interventions with the weakest evidence base for reducing alcohol harm include self-regulation of alcohol marketing, voluntary codes of retail practice, and information/education approaches. These are the measures promoted by the alcohol industry to try to avoid regulation and protect their business interests.