Irish Times: Prices prompt heavy drinkers to cut down

The Irish Times – Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Prices prompt heavy drinkers to cut down


Heavy and underage drinkers are most likely to reduce alcohol consumption if prices go up, according to a World Health Organisation report.

All drinkers cut down when minimum pricing or price increases are introduced but the impact is proportionately higher with problem drinkers, says the report Alcohol in the European Union.

Alcohol consumption in the EU is the highest in the world: the average for adults is 12.5 litres of pure alcohol a year – or nearly three drinks a day – more than double the world average.

Socially disadvantaged people and those who live in socially disadvantaged areas experience more harm from the same dose of alcohol than those who are better off, the report says.

Increasing the price of alcohol, relative to other goods and incomes is the key to reducing alcohol-related harm, the report says. “There is an enormous wealth of evidence to show that this is a highly effective and cost-effective measure.”