Minimum alcohol pricing introduced in Scotland

Alcohol packaging should carry health warnings in the same way as tobacco the Scottish government has been told

Alcohol packaging should carry health warnings in the same way as tobacco the Scottish government has been told

Catherine Calderwood, Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, said there are a number of factors behind the high number of alcohol related deaths in the country.

The price of cheap, high-strength alcohol increased in Scotland as long-awaited legislation on minimum pricing came into force on Tuesday.

The Act, first voted into the statute books by Scottish MSPs in 2012, was challenged by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).

The law stipulates that a standard 700 ml 40 percent bottle of whisky cannot be sold for less than £14 ($19.12, about 1,200 rubles), a 750 ml 13 percent bottle of wine - for less than 4.88 pounds ($6.66, about 421 rubles) and two liters of 5 percent cider can only be sold for a minimum of 5 pounds ($6.83, about 431 rubles).

"The introduction of MUP represents a major change to alcohol policy in Scotland".

John Mooney, senior lecturer in public health, has commented on similarities between parts of the country and the North East, as Scotland aims to cut alcohol deaths and hospital admissions, as well as slashing crime and reducing costs to the health service.

He said: "Minimum Unit Pricing has been a very complex and costly measure to introduce".

The Scottish Government said research shows that the move is expected to save 392 lives in the first five years of implementation.

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The House of Malt in Carlisle is hoping to cash in on the minimum alcohol pricing ruling.

The legislation has been criticised by small government campaigners who say that it will only serve as a levy on the poor and will not in itself solve Scotland's alcoholism problems.

Dr Peter Bennie, Chair of BMA Scotland said: "Minimum unit pricing is a policy that will help to save lives and reduce alcohol harms in Scotland". The Scottish Government confirmed in February this year it would set the baseline price for alcohol at 50p a unit.

"It is vital therefore that the impact of on businesses and on consumers of the MUP experiment in Scotland is rigorously and objectively monitored and evaluated over time".

"Any delay in implementing MUP in England will only cost lives and lead to unnecessary alcohol-related harm. The less alcohol you drink, the lower your risk of cancer", she said.

One comes into effect in Scotland today, set at 50 pence per unit.

"A large and legal online business is likely to emerge to satisfy demand and there is nothing the SNP can do about it".

Noting that Northern Ireland and Wales are planning to introduce similar legislation, Ms. Sturgeon added: "I think we will see countries across Europe and further afield look to replicate what has been done here in Scotland".

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