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Cheap alcohol and promotions encourage binge drinking, says Alcohol Concern research

By Gurjit Degun , 20-Nov-2012
Last updated on 20-Nov-2012 at 10:56 GMT2012-11-20T10:56:43Z

Binge drinking: Alcohol Concern says it is encouraged through low-priced alcohol

Binge drinking: Alcohol Concern says it is encouraged through low-priced alcohol

Low-cost alcohol and the way it is promoted encourages young people to binge drink, according to a new study from health campaign groups Alcohol Concern and Balance.

The survey of 1,000 16 to 24-year-olds found that seven out of 10 thought that the price of alcohol bought from pubs and bars compared with off licences influences how people drink.

They also agreed that the way alcohol is promoted encourages excessive consumption, with young people reporting that it is often cheaper to buy a three-litre bottle of cider than buy a ticket to go to the cinema.

‘Binge - Drinking to get drunk: Influences on young adult drinking behaviours’ is published as Alcohol Concern launches Alcohol Awareness Week which runs between 19 and 25 November. Alcohol Concern also renewed calls for a 50p minimum unit price.

Alcohol Concern programme policy manager Tom Smith said: “This report is further proof of the impact cheap alcohol is having on the health and wellbeing of our young people. They have told us loud and clear that the way in which alcohol is priced influences the way they drink.

“This survey shows just how urgent action on Minimum Unit Pricing is and we’re calling on the Government to set a 50p minimum unit price without delay.”

Colin Shevills, director of Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, added: “Although more young people are choosing not to drink, there are still too many who drink to excess. Alcohol is too affordable, too available and too heavily promoted, encouraging young people to drink from an early age.

“Government needs to set a minimum unit price of at least 50p. This would increase the price of the cheapest, strongest alcohol, such as strong white cider, protecting vulnerable younger and heavier drinkers who are more likely to drink cheap alcohol and suffer the consequences. The measure will save lives, reduce hospital admissions, cut crime and protect young people. We believe it’s a small price to pay.”

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