Monday, 26 March 2012

Cut Alcohol Deaths And Raise Funds

Cameron has been getting headlines talking about putting a minimum 40 p a unit of alcohol. But many say 50 p is better.

In the house of commons Caroline Lucas said: "A minimum price for alcohol is something that I have campaigned on, and I am delighted that, on this issue at least, the Government are listening to the health professionals, who warn that we are losing nearly £3 billion a year on alcohol-related disease. Without pre-judging the outcome of the consultation, will the Home Secretary acknowledge that the university of Sheffield suggests that a unit price of 50p is more effective? Why has her strategy not included the really important issue of alcohol advertising?"

A minimum price is supported by many experts, academics and alcohol charities on the grounds that it will "reduce harms". Work by researchers at Sheffield University in 2008, commissioned by the Department of Health, modelled the likely effects of various policy options on alcohol pricing and promotion.

It found that on balance there was evidence that increases in alcohol prices are linked to reductions in both alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harms, and can bring “significant health and social benefits”.

Projections in the study predicted that a 40p minimum price would mean 41,000 fewer hospital admissions annually and 100,000 fewer daily absences from work.

The Sheffield report also said that the higher the minimum price, the greater the benefit, and that some health professionals support a minimum price of 50p per unit.

One report in the BMJ published in 2011 said that recent UK estimates suggested a 50p minimum price would lead to 3,393 fewer deaths, 97,900 fewer hospital admissions, 45,800 fewer crimes and 296,900 fewer sick days each year.

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