New pricing study demonstrates lives will be saved

The publication of a new academic report demonstrating the effectiveness of minimum pricing in reducing alcohol-related deaths has been welcomed as an important addition to the evidence in favour of introducing the measure in Scotland.

The Canadian study found that a rise in alcohol prices of 10% led to “immediate, substantial and significant reductions” in alcohol related deaths of 32%.

The report quotes Dr Tim Stockwell, director of the University of Victoria's Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia as saying: “This study adds to the scientific evidence that, despite popular opinion to the contrary, even the heaviest drinkers reduce their consumption when minimum alcohol prices increase.”

Last year the Scottish Parliament passed legislation to introduce a minimum price per unit of alcohol of 50p aimed at addressing Scotland’s damaging relationship with alcohol which costs the country an estimated £3.56 billion every single year.

Commenting, SNP MSP Bob Doris who is deputy convener of the Health and Sport Committee said:

“This new evidence is the latest demonstration of the effectiveness that a minimum price per unit will have in Scotland.

“It shows quite clearly why this is an effective and proportional measure and why it is essential that Scotland is given the green light to introduce a minimum price for alcohol.

“Scotland’s damaging relationship with alcohol costs all of us billions of pounds every year, not least in hospital and policing costs, but also carries a horrendous human cost for the families of everyone who has lost a loved one to an alcohol related death.

“The evidence in favour of this policy simply cannot be ignored when it will save significant numbers of lives and ease the financial pressures on households across the country. We must all put public health before private profit.

“Nobody has ever claimed that minimum pricing is a silver-bullet for all of Scotland’s alcohol related woes, but it is an important tool that this country needs and today’s study adds significant weight to the case for introducing it.”