A study of liver patients by the University of Southampton shows that a Minimum Unit Price (MUP) policy for alcohol is exquisitely targeted towards the heaviest drinkers with cirrhosis. Published today in Clinical Medicine, the peer review journal for the Royal College of Physicians, the researchers studied the amount and type of alcohol drunk by 404 liver patients, and also asked patients how much they paid for alcohol. They found that patients with alcohol related cirrhosis were drinking on average the equivalent of four bottles of vodka each week, and were buying the cheapest booze they could find, paying around 33p per unit, irrespective of their income. In contrast low risk moderate drinkers were paying on average £1.10 per unit. If the UK government set a MUP at 50p, it wouldn’t affect pubs or bars and would have no impact on moderate drinkers; the average cost would be £4 per year and 90% would not be affected at all. The impact on heavy drinking liver patients would be at least 200 times higher.
Figures published by the Health Research Board confirm that Irish drinking patterns are harmful and almost one in fourteen drinkers meet criteria for dependent drinking. The figures were captured as part of the first National Alcohol Diary Survey involving almost 6,000 people, aged 18-75 years, across Ireland during 2013.
The World Health Organisation's Global status report on alcohol and health 2014 provides a global overview of alcohol consumption in relation to public health (Chapter 1) as well as information on: the consumption of alcohol in populations (Chapter 2); the health consequences of alcohol consumption (Chapter 3); and policy responses at national level (Chapter 4).
By the end of 2012 the top 20 alcohol brands (brands) in Australia had more than 2.5 million followers on their Facebook pages. During 2012 they posted more than 4500 items of content. Their followers interacted with that content by liking, sharing or commenting on it more than 2.3 million times. These figures suggest that Facebook is now a key player in the promotion of alcohol. The alcohol industry has developed an extensive, real-time, culturally embedded mode of branding on Facebook. The sophisticated use of social media by brands identified in this research raises seven issues that are currently not addressed by existing regulation.