Research shows minimum pricing 'can reduce alcohol consumption'

International research on drinking indicates that Irish society would benefit from a minimum price being set for alcohol.

International research on drinking indicates that Irish society would benefit from a minimum price being set for alcohol.

Yesterday, Scotland introduced new rules to tackle binge-drinking, setting the lowest price for alcohol at 50p (60c) per unit.

It will make the cheapest bottle of wine there £4.69p (€5.86c), while a four-pack of lager would cost at least £3.52p (€4.40c).

Junior Health Minister Roisín Shortall has said she hopes to introduce a similar bill here before the end of the year.

Dr Bobby Smyth, a senior lecturer in Public Health and Primary Care at Trinity College, Dublin, said there is a body of research to back up such a bill.

Mr Smyth said: "The World Health Organisation has identified it as one of the most effective strategies based on international research.

"In Ireland, on the very few occasions when we have increased excise duty in the last ten years it has resulted in small, but definite, declines in alcohol consumption. It is patently obvious, it seems to me, that alcohol as a discretionary purchase is going to be linked to the amount of money that we charge people for it."

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