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BMA Scotland Publishes Plan to Tackle Scotland's Drink Problem

BMA Scotland today [Monday 25 June 2007] published a five point plan to tackle Scotlands alcohol problem. The five demands where highlighted in a new paper published by BMA Scotland on the opening day of the BMAs annual UK conference in Torquay.

Alcohol kills six people every day in Scotland and doctors report an increase in the number of young people presenting to the NHS with serious illness resulting from alcohol misuse.

Drinking in moderation can be a source of pleasure however the effect of excessive alcohol consumption on our health and the related social and economic impact is significant. For example, the number of patients discharged from hospital with alcoholic liver disease has more than doubled in the past ten years.

The plan calls upon the Scottish Executive to:

1. Utilise the legislative capabilities of the 2005 Licensing (Scotland) Act, to end deep discounting of alcohol for sale in off licences, supermarkets and other off sales outlets.
Cheap drinks promotions which encourage people to buy more alcohol, particularly in supermarkets and off licenses must be controlled. Some supermarkets are running alcohol products as a loss leader which in some cases has resulted in alcohol being cheaper than bottled water.

2. Undertake research into the measures by which pricing mechanisms can be used in Scotland to discourage heavy consumption of high alcohol products.
Strong evidence suggests that increasing the price of alcohol may be an effective method of reducing use by adolescents (1).

3. End alcohol producers sponsorship of sporting and entertainment events with a young target audience.
Sponsoring entertainment and sporting events and sports teams has become an important advertising mechanism for the alcohol industry. However, the exposure of children to alcohol's linkage to entertainment events or sporting activities gives alcohol
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