- Alcohol-specific deaths in Scotland increase
- Students as Change Agents
- Health charities call for action to save lives from Scotlands biggest killers
- Australian ministers agree to visible pregnancy warning
- Three quarters of Scots back new controls to help protect children from alcohol advertising
- More accurate estimates for the burden of Alcohol on the Ambulance Service: around 1 in 6 callouts in Scotland are alcohol related
- How can alcohol labels be improved to help people make informed consumption choices
- Health experts call for better alcohol labelling
- Young people and their views on alcohol marketing
- Lowest alcohol sales in Scotland for 26 years
- Minimum unit pricing has lasting impact study shows
- Euros renews call for action to protect children from alcohol sports sponsorship
- Current alcohol labelling of little relevance to young adult drinkers
- Governments should step up efforts to tackle harmful alcohol consumption
- Scottish public and leading health experts back changes to alcohol labelling
- AFS calls for 65p minimum unit price for alcohol
- How will the main parties prevent harm from alcohol?
- Alcohol labelling reform is way past its sell by date
- Alcohol policy priorities for the next parliament
- Young drinkers believe prominent health warnings on alcohol could boost risk awareness
- Alcohol and the Workplace Effective Interventions
- Alcohol sales and consumption in Scotland during the pandemic
- How can we prevent alcohol deaths?
- Alcohol Deaths and Minimum Unit Pricing
- Young Scots show support for restrictions on alcohol marketing
- YoungScot Health Panel report on alcohol marketing and harm
- New release of alcohol related hospital admissions
- Better alcohol labelling – A way to boost awareness of the risk between alcohol and cancer?
- Alcohol Deaths Prevention Support
- Almost half of Scots in favour of minimum unit pricing
- NICE Guidelines on FASD Surveillance or Support?
- Leading health charities call for action in Scotland
- Health experts campaign for better understanding of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
- Health experts call for alcohol labelling overhaul
- Survey shows Scots lockdown drinking rise caused by stress
- Alcohol Focus Scotland welcomes new WHO report on alcohol pricing
- Statistical analysis of off-trade alcohol sales in the year following MUP
- Alcohol Focus Scotland Review of statements of licensing policy 2018 to 2023
- We need to continue long-term focus on alcohol
- Scots report changing drinking patterns during coronavirus lockdown
- Time to Blow the Whistle on Alcohol Sport Sponsorship
- New evidence demonstrates that alcohol ads lead to youth drinking
- Alcohol sales fall in first year of MUP
- First study published into under 18 drinkers post MUP
- Commission on Alcohol Harm calls for evidence
- Two years on Are annual functions reports reaching their potential?
- We need to do more to protect our children and young people
- Scottish primary children call for action on alcohol
- New Alcohol Deaths Prevention Support Now Available from AFS
- Its time to tell us whats in our drinks
- A home for Rory
- Making a bad impression - blog post
- Alcohol sales and MUP
- Alcohol marketing and children debate in the Scottish Parliament
- Lowest alcohol sales in 25 years
- Research into fall in violence
- The Children's Parliament investigates an alcohol-free childhood
- Minimum unit pricing one year on
- More about sales data
- A family of resources it is all about prevention, education and resilience
- AFS publish Review of Licensing Board Annual Functions Reports 2017-2018
- Marketing unmasked dispelling the myths and taking a stand
- No place for alcohol marketing in sport
- Scotland publishes first UK guidelines for diagnosing fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)
- The Alcohol Framework 2018 Preventing Harm
- Scotlands new drug and alcohol strategy launched
- AFS welcome new alcohol strategy
- Recent reporting on alcohol sales data
- Diageo is failing to provide latest guidelines on their products
- Drinks companies keeping consumers in dark about risky drinking
- Reducing alcohol consumption can address health inequalities
- Global first alcohol policy set to save hundreds of Scots' lives
- AFS welcomes minimum unit pricing for alcohol
- Truer picture of alcohol harm revealed
- Alcohol causes 3,700 deaths in Scotland every year
- Scotland's licensing system needs clearer direction
- Minimum pricing blog
- Minimum pricing gets green light
- Alcohol brands and young people
- Time for honest conversations about alcohol
- Q&A on alcohol marketing
- UK children anxious about parents' drinking
- Alcohol producers failing to inform public
- Concern over alcohol-related deaths
- We need to make it easier for people to drink less
- Worrying rise in alcohol-related deaths
- Minimum pricing will save lives
- Pocket money prices for alcohol continue
- Scotland's alcohol problem laid bare
- Cheap alcohol is costing Scotland dear
- One drink a day can increase breast cancer risk
- Poverty linked to increased harm from alcohol
- What next for reducing alcohol harm in Scotland?
- Scotland must do more to turn tide of alcohol harm
- Concern as funding for alcohol services cut
- Scottish Government urged to curb alcohol marketing
- Consumers have the right to know health risks
- Alcohol-free childhood is healthiest option
- SWA granted leave to appeal minimum pricing
- Scottish Greens call for action on alcohol marketing
- SWA will appeal to UK Supreme Court
- SWA urged to respect minimum pricing decision
- Minimum pricing can be implemented in Scotland
- AFS welcomes revised alcohol consumption guidelines
- Emergency services face shocking levels of alcohol abuse
- New toolkit to help children affected by family alcohol problems
- Alcohol campaigners unite to call for stronger protection from alcohol advertising to children
- No completely 'safe' level of drinking
- New alcohol guidelines published
- Minimum pricing - European court ruling
- Alcohol: a global concern
Minimum pricing will save lives
This week, the UK Supreme Court will hear the Scotch Whisky Association’s final appeal against minimum pricing for alcohol.
We hope that it will finally be given the green light, more than 5 years since the legislation was passed by the Scottish Parliament, and having been tested in Europe and twice declared legal by Scottish courts.
Minimum pricing came about in response to soaring alcohol-related hospital admissions and deaths in Scotland. In the 1980s, there were around 600 alcohol-related deaths per year – by the mid-2000s this had increased to 1500. Right now, an average of 22 Scots die because of alcohol every single week.
The more affordable and easily available a product is, the more it is consumed. Alcohol is now 60% more affordable than it was in 1980, as shops compete to lure customers in with ridiculously cheap prices and promotions. This has led to a huge shift from pub to home drinking.
Minimum unit pricing directly links the price of drinks to their strength and sets a ‘floor price’ below which a unit of alcohol can’t be sold. Under minimum pricing, a pint in the pub won’t cost any more but certain products on supermarkets and corner shops’ shelves will cost much more than they do today. For example, 3 litre bottles of “White Ace” and “Frosty Jack’s” cider at 7.5% abv are on sale for just £3.99. One bottle contains 22 units of alcohol - this works out at just 18p per unit. Under a 50p minimum price, that bottle of cider would cost at least £11.25.
Doctors and those working in addiction services say heavy drinkers, particularly dependent drinkers, rely on very cheap alcohol. One of the arguments pushed by the industry is that minimum pricing “punishes” the poor. “On the contrary..” as 40 GPs working in our most disadvantaged communities put it in a recent letter to the Herald “...they have most to gain. The implementation of minimum unit pricing in Scotland will bring about positive and lasting change, especially for the people and communities with whom we work.”
So what have we learned in the decade that we have been campaigning for minimum pricing? That our politicians will listen to experts about what works and are willing to take bold measures to improve public health. That there is a groundswell of support for action to get rid of cheap, strong alcohol that causes so much damage. But also, that big business will be ruthless in protecting their profits, even at the expense of people’s lives. Multi-national companies are prepared to misrepresent the evidence and obstruct democratic decisions, often hiding behind trade associations to do so.
Preventing alcohol harm requires regulation not simply education. Alcohol producers and retailers need to accept that the products they make and sell are toxic, addictive and carcinogenic so it’s absolutely right that controls are in place to minimise the harm caused.
Cheap alcohol has been taking its toll for too long. We all know someone whose life has been cut short, a family that’s broken up, or someone who has had an accident or been assaulted because of alcohol. In the first year alone, a 50p minimum unit price could prevent 60 alcohol-related deaths, 1,600 hospital admissions and 3,500 crimes.
We don’t want Scotland to be known for heavy drinking. That’s not something to be proud of. We should be known for our progressive approach to improving health, creating better communities, and reducing inequalities. Minimum unit pricing is the biggest public health breakthrough since the ban on smoking in public places. It will save many lives and improve many more.
Chief Executive, Alcohol Focus Scotland