Could Minimum Alcohol Pricing Save Lives?

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Wine_5_RockieNolanPhotographed by Rockie Nolan.
Nothing beats the thrill of finding a good bargain. And, the quest for the best possible deal translates into all areas of our lives, even food and drink. Over the holidays, we always snap up the discounted offerings the supermarkets had on some of our favorite tipples. But, cheap booze specials might be a thing of the past if the results from this study are to be taken seriously.

The Guardian reports on new findings from scientists at Sheffield University that suggest giving hard liquor a minimum price could save 860 lives every year and result in 29,900 fewer hospital admissions. The study predicts that setting the price per alcohol unit at 45 pence will have the biggest impact on heavy drinkers with low incomes. Higher prices could lead to lower sales among this at-risk group — to the tune of 300 fewer units purchased per year.

Scientists also suggest that the set pricing would have a minimal effect on the people classed as moderate drinkers.

This tactic has been studied for other vices as well. The public health charity, ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) cites the World Bank’s estimate that if the price of tobacco is increased by 10% in affluent countries like the U.K. the consumption rate would drop by 4%. In poorer countries, the effect is even more dramatic with a reduction of 8%.

Sure, we all love a good deal on our favorite bottle of red. But, does cheap liquor have to come at such a high price?(The Guardian)