Scotland has become the first country in the world to implement minimum unit pricing for alcohol to tackle the damage caused by cheap, high strength alcohol.

Scotland has the highest rate of alcohol related deaths in the UK – 22 every week – and as a nation drinks 40 per cent more than the low risk drinking guidelines of 14 units per week for men and women.

Scotland’s chief medical officer Dr Catherine Calderwood commented that prior to this legislation, “those 14 units could be bought for just £2.52”, which she deemed “absolutely unacceptable”.

The new legislation sets a minimum 50 pence per unit price – a move that is expected to save 392 lives in the first five years.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “It’s no secret that Scotland has a troubled relationship with alcohol… Given the clear and proven link between consumption and harm, minimum unit pricing is the most effective and efficient way to tackle the cheap, high strength alcohol that causes so much damage to so many families.” The Royal Society for Public Health has welcomed this minimum unit price and is urging England to follow Scotland’s lead.

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