Scotland becomes first country to implement minimum unit alcohol price

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The Scottish policy, created to cut long-standing issues around alcohol-related harm, will set a minimum price of 50 pence ($0.70, 0.57 euros) per unit of alcohol.

Scotland has become the first country in the world to implement minimum unit pricing for alcohol.

'All of the evidence says that minimum unit pricing will reduce deaths from alcohol-related illnesses, reduce hospital admissions and generally reduce the damage that alcohol misuse does to our society'.

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.

The Scottish government won a landmark court case against the Scottish Whisky Association in November, allowing it to go ahead with the move.

New Zealand Drug Foundation executive director Ross Bell said the liquor industry was scared of a minimum alcohol price and that was a sign it was a good idea.

Prior to the introduction of MUP, it was possible to buy 14 units of alcohol (the government's low risk drinking guidelines for one week) for just £2.52 ($3.44).

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In particular, MUP is targeting large bottles of super-strength cider - which costs less than a bottle of cola - and cans of super strength supermarket lager.

"We now look forward to seeing a broad and far-reaching alcohol strategy from the Scottish Government soon".

Scottish doctors hailed the implementation of the policy as an essential milestone for Scotland.

"The BBPA strongly supports policies and initiatives targeted at the minority of those who misuse alcohol and view this as the best way to reduce alcohol harm".

But a measure public health advocates call a watershed moment has been a long time coming.

"There will be no more heavy discounting on spirits and on big packs of beer which really have caused all the problems in the first place with alcohol", she added.

The comments come after an announcement that Scotland had brought in a minimum price of 50p (NZ 97 cents) per unit of alcohol as of 1 May.

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