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Alcohol price hike backed by NICE

3rd June 2010

Calls for a minimum price per unit of alcohol in England have been supported by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).


The NICE recommendation is in line with its guidance on reducing harm from excessive drinking and comes as findings show that a quarter of all adults are drinking too much for the good of their health.

However, while the coalition government wants to cut alcohol misuse, it does not want to see a minimum price set.

NICE public health director Professor Mike Kelly said that the watchdog felt that minimum pricing was the most effective way of targeting problem drinkers.

He said: “It wouldn't affect the 'on' trade by and large, because most pubs sell well above that price. It really is a measure designed to attack cheap alcohol in the 'off' trade.”

The approach is designed to target the heaviest drinkers and would have the biggest impact on heavily discounted alcohol available in supermarkets.

Alcohol is believed to be responsible for more than 15,000 deaths a year, costs the NHS more than £2bn annually and may be linked to 1.2 million violent incidents a year.

The NICE guidance recommends a number of measures, including banning advertising and making alcohol less easy to buy. It could also include cutting how much holidaymakers are allowed to bring into the country from abroad, and reducing the number of shops selling alcohol, as well as the days and hours it can be bought.

However, the British Retail Consortium said the minimum pricing approach was “too simplistic.”


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Article Information

Title: Alcohol price hike backed by NICE
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 15035
Date Added: 3rd Jun 2010


BBC News

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