Doctors are calling for the minimum unit pricing (MUP) of alcohol to be introduced across of the UK.
The call follows the publishing of a study on the effect of the introduction of MUP in Scotland, in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).
“The rest of the UK should follow Scotland’s lead,” says the BMJ.
The introduction of MUP in Scotland appears to have cut drinking, the study suggests.
The policy was designed to effectively target drinkers who buy most of the cheapest, strongest alcohol.
Since May 2018, the price of alcohol has had to be at least 50p per unit.
The study looked at how much alcohol was bought in shops before and after the move up to the end of 2018.
It found the amount purchased per person per week fell by 1.2 units – the equivalent of just over half a pint of beer or a measure of spirits.
The introduction of the MUP has hit the sales of low cost white ciders and own-brand spirits.
The biggest fall was among the heaviest of drinkers – the amount purchased by this group fell by two units.
Scottish Government Minister for Public Health Joe FitzPatrick said: “These findings from the BMJ study are encouraging and reinforce why Scotland was right to take the innovative step of introducing minimum unit pricing.”
However, the doctors now says a longer-term, follow up study is required in order to establish whether the drop has been sustained. Some commentators believe sales are starting to increase again.
Scotland was the first country in the world to introduce a minimum price based on the strength of alcoholic drinks.
Wales is looking to introduce minimum pricing in 2020, but neither England nor Northern Ireland currently have plans to set a limit.
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