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Ban loyality points on alcohol

30th June 2010

Doctors’ leaders want tougher measures introduced in the UK to tackle alcohol abuse.

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The British Medical Association has called for a clampdown on supermarkets offering loyalty points for purchases of alcohol and tougher police action against drunkenness on buses and trains.

However, while the Mayor of London Boris Johnson has stopped alcohol consumption on the underground, the BMA stopped short of calling for a similar ban during a debate at its annual conference.

They felt an across the board ban would not be fair on people who drink responsibly.

Edinburgh-based anaesthetist Dr Christine Robison raised concerns about alcohol being responsible for bad behaviour on public transport and said: “City centres are no-go areas for many people and now public transport is little better.”

The BMA also urged a complete ban on alcohol advertising and a minimum price being introduced.

Dr Brian Keighley, chairman of the BMA in Scotland, said: “Most alcohol bought for consumption is from supermarkets. There is a need to send the right message on drinking behaviour by not allowing 'rewards' for buying alcohol.”

While public health minister Anne Milton said the government was looking to tighten regulation, she said it would not commit to the measures proposed by the BMA, though she welcomed the BMA’s contribution to the debate on the number of ways we can reduce alcohol consumption."

However, the British Retail Consortium dismissed the loyalty points argument as irrelevant.

A spokesman said: “Irresponsible drinking is about culture, not price or promotions. Retailers are hugely engaged in achieving cultural change through education and information.”

 

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