The Alcohol Health Alliance, pushing for a substantial increase in tax on alcohol, officially launched this morning.
The stated mission of the new coalition of 24 organisations is to "reduce the damage caused to health by alcohol misuse".
The Alliance says increasing tax by 10% could cut all alcohol-related deaths by between 10% and 30%.
The Alcohol Health Alliance will campaign for;
• Dedicated funding for alcohol treatment and prevention strategies
• Increased taxation on alcohol
• A ban on alcohol advertising before 9.00 pm and in cinemas apart from 18 rated films
• Promotional material to carry information on health related harm
• The drink driving limit to be reduced to the EU standard of 0.5g/l and a near zero limit for new drivers
The group, headed by the Royal College of Physicians and including others such as Alcohol Concern, the British Liver Trust and the Health Research Trust, says it will attempt to "influence decision makers to take positive action to address the damage caused by alcohol misuse".
A spokesman said: "While loose coalitions have previously been formed on specific topics in the medical field, notably tobacco control, this is the first time that a group has existed specifically to co-ordinate campaigning on alcohol, bringing together medical bodies, patient representatives and alcohol health campaigners."
The Alliance claims its formation comes at a time when;
• 13 children a day are hospitalised as a result of alcohol misuse
• Alcoholic liver cirrhosis has increased by 95% since 2000, and by 36% over the last two years to 2006 and is still increasing
• Overall alcohol related deaths have increased by 18% from 2002-2005
• More people die from alcohol related causes than from breast cancer, cervical cancer and MRSA combined
•The passive effects of alcohol misuse are catastrophic - rape, sexual assault, domestic and other violence, drunk driving and street disorder - alcohol affects thousands more innocent victims than passive smoking
Yesterday, the British Beer and Pub Association wrote to the Alliance posing five key questions.
It warned: "In our view, the measures you are seeking would increase the burden on taxpayers, further restrict personal freedoms and limit consumer choice, while at the same time have little or no impact on alcohol misuse.
"In fact, in some areas it may make the situation worse by encouraging an illicit market in alcohol."
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