Alcohol control

Minimum unit pricing reduces alcohol-related harm to health (2023)
Public Health Scotland (PHS) has today published the final report on the independent evaluation of the impact of minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol in Scotland. Evidence shows that MUP has had a positive impact on health outcomes, including addressing alcohol-related health inequalities. It has reduced deaths directly caused by alcohol consumption by an estimated 13.4% and hospital admissions by 4.1%, with the largest reductions seen in men and those living in the 40% most deprived areas | Public Health Scotland, UK

Minimum Unit Pricing: Impacts on the alcoholic drinks industry in Scotland (2023)
This is the second and last report of a study being undertaken by researchers at Frontier Economics to look at the impact of MUP on the alcoholic drinks industry in Scotland. The first report from this study was published in 2019 | Public Health Scotland, UK

Evaluating the impact of Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) on sales-based alcohol consumption in Scotland at three years post-implementation (2022)
Three full years after implementation, the impact of MUP was a net reduction of 3.0% (−4.2% to −1.8%) in the total volume of pure alcohol sold per adult in Scotland, when using a method that accounts for sales in England & Wales (best available geographical control) and after adjustment for other potentially confounding factors. This reflects a 1.1% fall in Scotland in contrast to a 2.4% increase in England & Wales | Public Health Scotland, UK

No place for cheap alcohol: the potential value of minimum pricing for protecting lives (2022)
There has been growing interest in recent years in a relatively new form of pricing policy to decrease alcohol affordability and consequently consumption – minimum pricing. This report discusses this (‎as yet)‎ not widely used policy and its potential for improving public health and examines how minimum pricing policies should be applied alongside alcohol taxation measures. It reviews the status of implementation of minimum pricing globally, provides an overview of the most recent evidence behind the policy, addresses its main strengths and limitations and offers practical considerations for countries | WHO, Denmark

Final report published on the impact of MUP on people drinking at harmful levels, including those dependent on alcohol (2022)
Among those drinking at harmful levels or people with alcohol dependence, the study found no clear evidence of a change in consumption or severity of dependence. Findings also showed that some economically vulnerable groups experienced increased financial strain as the price rises meant they were spending more on alcohol. This led some people who were dependent on alcohol to reduce other expenditure, such as that on food and utilities | Public Health Scotland, UK

Intended and unintended consequences of the implementation of minimum unit pricing of alcohol in Scotland: a natural experiment (2021)
This study found that the implementation of minimum unit pricing at 50p per unit was unproblematic with no evidence of beneficial or harmful impacts on the outcomes evaluated | NIHR, UK

Impact of Minimum Unit Pricing among people who are alcohol dependent and accessing treatment services: Interim report: Structured interview data (2021)
This study looks at the Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) for alcohol that came into effect in Scotland in 2018. This interim report presents a description of collected data and early findings from a study about the impact of MUP on people with alcohol dependence who access treatment services. This study is the first of four work packages that make up the wider Harmful Drinking Study, which is one of a set of studies looking at the impact of MUP in Scotland | Public Health Scotland, UK

Drinks labels with pictures and guidelines could improve public understanding of Government recommendations (2021)
Enhanced labels for alcoholic drinks include pictures to demonstrate their strength, plus an explicit statement of drinking guidelines. New research found that these labels could improve public awareness and understanding of the Government’s Low Risk Drinking Guidelines | NIHR, UK

Global alcohol action plan 2022-2030 to strengthen implementation of the Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol (2021)
The Global strategy contains a set of principles that should guide the development and implementation of policies at all levels and sets out priority areas for global action | WHO, Switzerland

Making the European Region Safer: developments in alcohol control policies, 2010–2019 (2021)
The WHO-recommended “best buys” for alcohol policy can easily help countries to reduce health harms related to alcohol consumption. But according to the new WHO/Europe report not many Member States use these measures. Experience from Lithuania, Scotland and the Russian Federation shows how effective they can be when countries choose to implement them | WHO, Denmark

Monitoring and Evaluating Scotland’s Alcohol Strategy (MESAS) (2021)
The problems caused by alcohol in Scotland remain at a high level and in recent years associated harms have started to rise. This report provides recommendations of what more needs to be done to ensure improvements continue. This includes evidence in support of the introduction of minimum unit pricing and continued monitoring of key alcohol statistics. Briefing paper here (PDF) | Public Health Scotland, UK

‘It’s everywhere’ – alcohol’s public face and private harm: The report of the Commission on Alcohol Harm (2020)
The Commission on Alcohol Harm was established to examine the current evidence on alcohol harm, recent trends in alcohol harm and the changes needed to reduce the harm caused by alcohol. The Commission’s remit was also to examine the need for a new comprehensive alcohol strategy for England, which takes account of the strategies in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and to consider UK-wide priorities in areas where policy is not devolved | AHA UK, UK

Drinking in the dark: How alcohol labelling fails consumers (2020)
In this study we reviewed a random sample of 424 alcohol containers on shop shelves in October 2019 to assess whether labels included the UK’s Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) low-risk drinking guidelines and other essential pieces of information that would allow consumers to make informed choices | AHA UK, UK

Alcohol labelling policies: most countries lagging behind in promoting healthier choices (2020)
According to a new report, labelling of alcoholic beverages is not consistent or even considered in many countries in the WHO European Region. The new Health Evidence Network (HEN) synthesis report on alcohol labelling across the Region is the first systematic study that covers the different ways countries label alcoholic beverages and sets out policy options for authorities to consider | WHO, Denmark

Pour Decisions: The case for reforming alcohol duty (2019)
This report explores the case for reforming alcohol duty in the United Kingdom, and the principles which should underpin a new, improved alcohol duty regime. This includes consideration of alcohol duty reforms that could be implemented following Brexit | SMF, UK

Minimum Unit Pricing Evaluation – Compliance study (2019)
This study looks at the Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) for alcohol that came into effect in Scotland in 2018. It specifically relates to issues around compliance from the point of view of those with responsibility for inspection and enforcement of MUP in licensed premises | NHS Health Scotland, UK

Guidance on the Implementation of Minimum Pricing for Alcohol: For sellers of alcohol and enforcement authorities in Scotland (PDF) (2018)
On the 1st May 2018 Scotland introduced Minimum Unit Pricing. The minimum price of alcohol is set at 50p per unit. Anyone with a licence to sell alcohol won’t be allowed to sell it cheaper than this | Scottish Government, UK

Minimum Unit Pricing of Alcohol (PDF), 2017
The Scottish Parliament passed legislation in 2012 which allows the Scottish Ministers to introduce a system of Minimum Unit Pricing for alcohol. The legislation was then challenged in court and that delayed the implementation of this important policy. On 15 November 2017, the UK Supreme Court confirmed that the legislation which allows Minimum Unit Pricing to be introduced is lawful | Scottish Government, UK

Proposed minimum unit price for alcohol would lead to large price rises, 2017
Following a recent judgment, the UK Supreme Court confirmed that Scottish Government legislation for a minimum unit price for alcohol is lawful. The Scottish Government plans to introduce the measure on 1 May 2018. Meanwhile, the Welsh National Assembly is considering introducing a minimum unit price for alcohol. In this briefing note, we provide evidence on the likely impact of this type of reform | IFS, UK

Splitting the bill: Alcohol’s impact on the economy (PDF), 2017
Economic questions are central to the formation of alcohol policies, such as the setting of alcohol taxes, licensing requirements and marketing regulations. In particular, arguments around income, employment and trade are regularly used by the alcohol industry to resist measures to discourage consumption and harm. Such arguments are premised on the assumption that a successful alcohol industry is beneficial to the UK economy. This report critically examines that assumption | IAS, UK

The Frontline Battle, 2016
The Frontline Battle is an inquiry by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Harm into the impact of alcohol on Emergency Services. The report reveals the full extent of the pressures and dangers of alcohol related problems placed on our Emergency Services discussing the impact on staff, the impact on service provisions and the effect on time and resources. Read the full report here | Alcohol Concern, UK

The public health burden of alcohol: evidence review, 2016
This review looks at the impact of alcohol on the public health and the effectiveness of alcohol control policies | PHE, UK

Attitudes to alcohol Findings from the 2015 British Social Attitudes survey (PDF), 2016
This paper presents new findings on attitudes to alcohol. The use of alcohol is part of life for a large proportion of the British public. However, there is relatively strong public support for tighter government regulation of alcohol in some areas, including the introduction of Minimum Unit Pricing and strengthening drinkdriving laws | NatCen, UK

Alcohol-related crime and the 24-hour city, 2016
The Mayor is committed to growing the capital’s Night-Time Economy (NTE) and has proposed appointing a ‘Night Mayor’. This, coupled with the introduction of the Night-Tube, means that London is well on its way to becoming a 24-hour city. A report Policing the Night-Time Economy (PDF) – assesses the challenges associated with policing London’s growing NTE, in particular the extent to which crime linked to alcohol consumption puts pressure on policing resources | London Assembly Police and Crime Committee, UK

Licensing Act 2003: Its uses and abuses 10 years on, 2016
This report puts forward the view that the Act has been interpreted to the advantage of the licenced trade and there is a need to address some of the myths that have developed around the Act’s use | IAS, UK

Dereliction of duty: Are UK alcohol taxes too low?, 2016 (PDF)
A new report from the Institute of Alcohol Studies, claims that the Government’s own estimates of the social costs of alcohol imply that alcohol duty should be raised. The report summarises the economic theory underpinning alcohol taxation | IAS, UK

A new EU Alcohol Strategy? 2015 (PDF)
In 2006 the Commission proposed and the Council adopted “an EU Strategy to support Member States in reducing alcohol-related harm”. Its five priorities were to protect young people, children and unborn children; to reduce deaths and injuries from alcohol-related road accidents; to reduce alcohol-related harm among adults; to increase education and awareness; and to develop and maintain a common evidence base. The Strategy was given an end date of 2012. The Commission has done nothing to renew or replace it. In this inquiry we have been looking at what has been achieved, and what should come next | House of Lords, UK

Income group-specific impacts of alcohol minimum unit pricing in England 2014/15, 2013 (PDF)
This report was produced at the request of the UK Government to inform consultation and impact assessments around policy options for alcohol pricing arising from the publication of The Government’s Alcohol Strategy in March 2012 | University of Sheffield, UK