02/06/2010

Minimum Alcohol Prices 'Inevitable'

The charity, Alcohol Concern has welcomed guidance released today by The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) on preventing alcohol harms, in particular recommendations in support of minimum pricing and availability.

The charity has also called on the recommendations to strengthen controls on alcohol marketing to take place immediately.

The NICE recommendation for a minimum price on alcohol is just the latest public expression of support from health professionals, campaigners and members of the alcohol industry for this measure as a necessary step in tackling alcohol misuse in the UK.
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Don Shenker, Alcohol Concern Chief Executive said: "With practically every health body in the country now backing the move on alcohol minimum pricing, the new government needs to accept the evidence and introduce a minimum price urgently before thousands more lives are affected. Government should also act immediately to ensure children's exposure to alcohol advertising is a low as possible, by overhauling advertising regulations which purport to protect children, but actually leave children saturated with alcohol advertising on a daily basis.

"NICE have found evidence that alcohol marketing increases young people's consumption of alcohol, it seems untenable for the current codes to stay in place when so many children are now drinking more than ever before."

The guidance says around one in four men and women drink dangerous amounts of alcohol, which can cause physical and mental health problems. Binge drinking is also linked to antisocial behaviour, crime, costs to the NHS, breakdowns of relationships and sick days from work.

The exact figure for the minimum price has not yet been decided.

(CD/BMcC)

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