Reducing harm caused by alcohol


Global first alcohol policy set to save hundreds of Scots' lives

Today (Tuesday 1 May) sees the implementation of minimum unit pricing for alcohol after a 10 year battle by health campaigners and the Scottish Government.

Alison Douglas, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, said: “This is a great day for Scotland’s health.  Like the smoking ban, this policy will save hundreds of Scots’ lives and improve the lives of thousands more.  It is a triumph for public health and democracy - and a testament to the First Minister’s tenacity - that this policy is finally being implemented after 10 years of campaigning.  A global first, this lifesaving legislation will particularly benefit those in our poorest communities who are six times more likely to die and eight times more likely to be hospitalised due to alcohol than those in our most well off communities.

“All eyes are on us as countries around the world watch to see the results.  Already Wales and Ireland are actively legislating for minimum pricing.  Colleagues from as far afield as France, the US and New Zealand have been in touch to learn more about how we have delivered minimum pricing in Scotland.  Meanwhile the government of the Northern Territories in Australia has declared its intention to bring it in. 

“We should be proud that as a nation we are prepared to take bold steps to improve our health and that of our children. 

“While everyone recognises that minimum unit pricing on its own is not enough, it provides a strong platform for which to build a new relationship with alcohol in Scotland.  Evidence suggests tackling the widespread availability of alcohol and how heavily it is marketed should also be part of the mix.”