Alcohol Action Ireland today (Monday 1 July) noted the development, as reported yesterday (Sunday, 30 June), that government now intends to press ahead with implementation of minimum unit pricing for all alcohol products sold within the state.
Minimum unit pricing is a central pillar of the important initiatives set out in the Public Health Alcohol Act, which came into law in October 2018.
The important measures within the Act seek to improve public health outcomes and curb persistent high levels of alcohol consumption by regulating the price, promotion, placement and product information of alcohol.
Minimum unit pricing will ensure that the cheapest, strongest alcohol products available, especially within the off trade, cannot be sold beneath a certain price. This is an essential measure to tackling Ireland’s high levels of binge drinking, an issue further highlighted in the recent WHO’s evaluation of the EU ‘Action Plan on Youth Drinking and on Heavy Episodic Drinking (Binge Drinking) (2014-2016)’ that reported limited progress across the Member States.
If commenced as reported, the price of all alcohol products at a minimum will be costed by the level of alcohol grams within the product. The Public Health Alcohol Act establishes that a gram of alcohol must be priced at 0.10 cent or €1 per standard drink (10 gms)
A typical 700 ml bottle of gin at 37.5% abv (alcohol by volume) contains 207 gms alcohol or a 500 ml can of beer at 4.3% abv contains 16 gms of alcohol; costed within a minimum unit price these products will not be sold for less than €20.70 and €1.60 respectively.
While the implementation of minimum unit pricing (MUP) is important to the objectives of the Public Health Alcohol Act, it is equally important that all the measures are commenced, and implemented, in a coherent and cohesive manner. In this regard, Alcohol Action Ireland, queries why, as reported, the implementation of MUP might be further operationally delayed for 12 months.
Alcohol remains exceptionally affordable and easily available in Ireland. The 2018 market review from Alcohol Action Ireland demonstrated that:
an adult male, consuming alcohol within these low-risk guidelines, can reach the weekly threshold for as little as €8.49, and
an adult female, consuming alcohol within these low-risk guidelines, can reach the weekly threshold for as little as €5.49.
The full detail of the 2018 Price Survey is available at:
WHO evaluation of ‘Action Plan on Youth Drinking and on Heavy Episodic Drinking (Binge Drinking) (2014-2016), http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/405371/Report-on-the-evaluation-of-CNAPA-Action-Plan-Final-May-2019-rev.pdf?ua=1