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Call to stop cheap alcohol offers

21st February 2008

Senior doctors have called for tough new measures to curb the sale of cheap alcohol.

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The British Medical Association wants the government to act to introduce restrictions after a report it produced found that the pricing and promotion of drinks was fuelling an “alcohol epidemic.?

The BMA wants an end to cut-price alcohol in supermarkets, no more happy hours in pubs, more stringent drink drive limits, better access to treatment for alcohol-related conditions and a tax rise on drink after suggesting that a 10% increase could cut alcohol-related deaths by almost a third.

Figures show that a third of men and a fifth of women drink more alcohol each week than the recommended levels and since 1991, alcohol-related deaths have doubled to more than 8,700 a year. At the same time, the price of alcohol has got cheaper in real terms when compared to income.

The BMA said the government had to act over the problem.

Dr Vivienne Nathanson, the BMA’s head of science, said: “As doctors we see first-hand how alcohol misuse destroys lives. It causes family breakdowns, is a major factor in domestic violence, ruins job prospects and kills.?

Supermarket Tesco has said it is willing to enter discussions over the problem but said action needed to come from the government.

Don Shenker, Alcohol Concern’s director of policy and services, said: “The fact of the matter is price is a crucial determinant of how much we drink.?

The government has announced it is to carry out research into the problem this year.

 

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