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NHS Scotland calls for alcohol price rise

NHS Scotland has called for minimum pricing for alcohol to be introduced in a new report exploring the nation’s drinking habits. The call came after the discovery that the Scottish drink 24% more alcohol than the rest of the UK, which equates to over 100 pints extra per person per year.


The study, which focused on sales over the five-year period up to the end of 2009, found that just a third of alcohol was consumed in bars, pubs and restaurants, where an average unit costs £1.31. Off-trade shops, however, charged just a third of the price, at 43p.

Dr Laurence Gruer, director of public health science at NHS Health Scotland, said: "Alcohol from off-sales has become relatively cheaper, encouraging many more people to drink harmful amounts. The findings underline the need for action on cheap off-sales alcohol. It's by no means the only action needed but the research shows clearly that nothing else is as effective as raising the price."

[pie]Statistics show that alcohol-related illness causes one death every three hours in Scotland, costing the NHS £268m per year.[/pie]