As experts debate new Government plans for a minimum price on alcohol, it seems we may be sipping stronger drinks than in days gone by. Removing a billion units of alcohol is 'a step in the right direction' in tackling the harms caused by alcohol, according to action groups.
Professor Mark Bellis, the Faculty of Public Health’s spokesperson on alcohol, said: “A typical bottle of wine sold 20 years ago would be considered low alcohol by today’s standards. Over recent decades, a bottle of wine has gained the equivalent alcohol of adding between a double and triple vodka. Beers have been through a similar transformation.
“It’s not been difficult to move people’s tastes towards stronger alcoholic drinks. Selling more lower alcohol wine and beer is part of the commitment industry have made today, but the more important part for public health is selling less of the stronger beers and wines we now consider as normal.”
The Government is planning to set a minimum price of 40p per unit of alcohol. Drink-related incidents cost the UK an estimated £21billion a year. The NHS, particularly in A&E, is increasingly under strain from dealing with alcohol-related health issues. The new Alcohol Strategy will also see the sale of multi-buy discount deals banned, introduces a "zero tolerance" approach to drunken behaviour in A&E departments, suggests a late-night levy to get pubs and clubs to help pay for policing, and improves powers to stop serving alcohol to drunks.