Welcome to SHAAP’s (Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems) weekly media monitoring service.

03 March 2017


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This briefing aims to provide a ‘snap shot’ of latest news on alcohol and health policy. The inclusion of an article in the briefing should not imply that SHAAP approves or condones the content.

SHAAP provides a coordinated, coherent and authoritative medical and clinical voice on the need to reduce the impact of alcohol related harm on the health and wellbeing of the people in Scotland. 
Scottish Government report calls for ban on alcohol advertising and sponsorship
advertising in public spaces faces a ban with sponsorship of major sporting and cultural events by drinks brands brought to an end under sweeping plans in a new report for the Scottish Government. Compiled by prominent academics and health experts, the report also calls on ministers to press the UK Government to introduce curbs on TV alcohol advertising before 11pm and restrict its promotion in newspapers and magazines to publications aimed at adults. The recommendations by national campaign group Alcohol Focus Scotland (AFS) come 18 months after the Scottish Government tasked the group with coming up with a range of policy options around drink advertising and sponsorship and how they would be implemented. [...]
Source: Herald Scotland, 28 February, 2017

Alcohol advertising ban plans part of wider 'demonisation' agenda, claims former Government advisor
A LEADING expert on liquor laws has warned that beefed up restrictions on the sale of alcohol will be a "short leap" to tobacco-style health warnings and plain packaging on bottles. Jack Cummins, a former state advisor on licensing laws, compared demands for the Scottish Government to "airbrush" alcohol advertising from websites and public spaces to the kind of action taken by a "liberal regime" such as that "enjoyed by the citizens of North Korea". A new report for Government ministers has called for curbs on the promotion of alcohol in all public places and an end to its association with events like the Edinburgh Festival and the Six Nations. [...]
Source: The Herald, 01 March 2017

Why baby boomers are hitting the bottle like never before
Disillusioned over-50s risk serious health problems because of alcohol As an 18-year-old in 1966, I would go to the pub on a Saturday night with five girlfriends, before an alcohol-free dance at the local “palais”. We each drank a half of cider and one green chartreuse because, while it tasted like an antidote to dyspepsia, it was 55% proof. That was it; that was all we could afford. Even if we had the money, shame, social convention and a fear of what the neighbours might tell your mother restrained female, if not male, drinking. Now, for young and old, we live in different times. Last week Tony Rao, a consultant psychiatrist who has long campaigned on the dangers of older-age drinking, warned that the number of over-50s admitted to hospital because of the amount of alcohol they drink has more than trebled in a little over a decade. [...]
Source:The Guardian, 26 February 2017

Elderly more marginalised, developing alcohol problems
Alcohol use among Finland’s senior citizens is growing and older women are now becoming alcoholics at the same rate as men. The increase is apparent in home care visits and more trips to the hospital. The Finnish Medical Society Duodecim estimates that Finland is home to half a million high-risk users of alcohol, whose heavy drinking creates health problems. While the country’s overall consumption is on par with the European average, heavy drinking is still a major problem. Duodecim says one in every five male health care patients is a problem drinker, and every tenth female is also. [...]
Source: YLE News, 25 February 2017

What happened to the days of reading books to fall asleep?
• A quarter of adults now claim that they often drink alcohol before nodding off
• Another 12 per cent said that they no longer slept with their spouse or partner
• The survey of 5,002 men and women also found rising numbers avoiding books Rising numbers are turning to nightcaps to help them get a good night's sleep – and many are shunning their partners, research shows.
A quarter of adults say they drink alcohol before nodding off, up from 16 per cent four years ago. Another 12 per cent said they no longer slept with their spouse or partner, a rise from 8 per cent in 2013. The survey of 5,002 men and women by the Sleep Council also found that rising numbers were avoiding books. [...]
Source: Daily Mail, 25 February 2017

Alcohol could be about to get a whole lot more expensive
The price of alcohol could be about to go up significantly as businesses struggle with the rising cost of business rates. A shadow minister has said that, for example, pubs could be forced to put up the price of a pint by 30p. Gill Furniss said pubs would be hit with a £421 million increase in their bills as a result of the Government’s controversial re-evaluation. Tory former minister Richard Benyon added that pubs were a ‘net loser’ from re-evaluations in his Newbury constituency, as he urged ministers to get a grip on the Valuation Office Agency. [...]
Source: Metro, 28 February 2017

Lobby Groups Seek Rational UK Alcohol Tax Regime
The UK Chancellor is coming under pressure to use the upcoming Budget to hike duty on cheap, high strength alcohol. A survey conducted by the Alcohol Health Alliance UK (AHA) found that 66 percent of taxpayers support tax increases on cheap, high strength cider. According to the alliance, which is comprised of lobby groups and medical associations, street drinkers and children account for nearly all sales of these ciders. The report said that strong cider attracts the lowest duty per unit of any alcohol product. It said increasing duty would leave 80 percent of cider sales unaffected. Alongside duty increases, the AHA has urged the Chancellor to implement minimum unit pricing for alcohol, and to reinstate the alcohol duty escalator.  [...]
Source:, 24 February 2017

Calls for tax on 'pocket money booze' after death of 16-year-old who drank 'Britain's cheapest alcohol'
Campaigners called for higher taxes on 'super strength' cider after the Mirror's story on the 16-year-old who died after drinking the 'cheapest booze in Britain'. Megan Craig-Wilkinson tried 7.5 per alcohol 'Frosty Jack's' cider at a party with friends, and was found dead hours later by her distraught mum. A three-litre bottle of Frosty Jack's contains the equivalent of 22 SHOTS of vodka....yet was on sale for just 16p per unit of alcohol in a survey carried out last year.  [...]
Source:, 22 February 2017

Russia sticks with minimum pricing
Russia looks set to hike the minimum price of vodka despite widespread concern about growing consumption of moonshine and fake spirits. Senior Kremlin officials have said they are mulling a rise in the floor price for a half-bottle of vodka to 215 roubles, just under £3. Their decision comes despite at least one minister mooting a huge drop in the price after the 77 people died late last year after drinking bath lotion. [...]
Source: The Herald, 01 March 2017

When did Britain stop being a nation of hedonists?
Generation X were the last of the heavy smokers and binge-drinkers – and it could be brutal economic forces as much as changing attitudes that are keeping us out of the pub The behaviour of this nation, its relentless heeding of expert advice, the stiff downward curve of its self-harming habits, must be the cause of intense frustration to the hell-in-a-handcart lobby. It has long been observable that the youth of today act the way the youth of two decades ago used to be told to act, when they arrived at the GP with a stomach ulcer and an anxiety disorder. They go to the gym, they have personal bests, they count their steps, they walk up stairs. They spend less on alcohol and more on coffee.  [...]
Source: The Guardian, 22 February 2017

Forget the hangover, under-25s turn to mindful drinking
Non-alcoholic drinks are taking off in pubs and bars as a new fashion for abstinence takes over among young people Forget pub crawls – increasing numbers of young people are replacing beer and wine with “mindful drinking” – where abstinence, not alcohol, is all the rage. A fifth of British adults under-25 are teetotal, according to the Office for National Statistics, and numbers are on the rise. Motivated by health and income concerns, this new generation are bucking the trend of their parents, and choosing to drink in moderation, or not at all. [...]
Source: The Guardian, 26 February 2017

Tesco to up focus on no-low alcohol wine
Tesco is upping its focus on low and no-alcohol wine and is understood to be mulling a dedicated bay for the products. The UK retailer is said to be mulling the installation of a new fixture dedicated to the no- and low-alcohol category, which db understands could go in stores as early as the middle of March. A Tesco spokesman told db the team were currently “knuckling down the details” and that it “was looking at different options and the best way to present it”, although she was not able to confirm exactly how it would merchandise products in store or the timing of the roll-out, although this was expected to be decided “in the next few weeks”.  [...]
Source: The Drinks Business, 02 March 2017

Westminster frats offer alcohol awareness program
College fraternities and alcohol frequently are thought of as inseparable. On Tuesday, though, the brothers of Sigma Phi Epsilon at Westminster College combined them in a different way. They presented "Rethink That Drink," a program to raise awareness of what alcohol can do, at Orr Auditorium. "We wanted to show how serious alcohol abuse and alcohol-related issues can be and the impact of alcohol on our culture," said Sigma Phi Epsilon president James Rondinelli. Rondinelli noted that an alcohol-related death at Penn State University earlier this month resulted in a five-year ban of that fraternity chapter from campus, and alcohol-related problems surfaced last weekend at the University of Pittsburgh. [...]
Source: New Castle News, 01 March 2017

Young Swedes swapping alcohol for social media and the gym: study
Swedish youngsters are becoming less permissive about alcohol, and exercise could be playing a part. Young Swedes are becoming stricter in their attitudes towards alcohol, with social media use and a love of fitness contributing to a less permissive attitude – the opposite of their older compatriots. The change among Sweden's youngsters has been observed in the latest edition of IQ's yearly Alkoholindex survey of Swedish attitudes towards drinking. The study asks interviewees to answer "right" or "wrong" to several alcohol-related scenarios, then creates an index score out of 100 based on the responses. [...]
Source: The Local Sweden, 02 March 2017

Will plain packaging on alcohol and sugar REALLY make us healthier?
Experts fear government plans will do more harm than good

• From May 2017 cigarettes will only be sold in plain packaging
• In December 2016 the government advisory board Public Health England proposed extending plain packaging to alcohol
• A number of confectionery companies may do the same for chocolate bars
• But industry insiders warn this would have a devastating effect on sales
• One disgruntled brand designer has formed a resistance group called Endangered Species to challenge the moves In a matter of weeks cigarette companies make their packaging indistinguishable.
A government-backed health drive has succeeded in stripping individual design from tobacco products in a bid to bolster the nation's well-being. However, although there's no way to predict the move's long-term effectiveness, officials are now hoping to roll-out the initiative for other vices, including alcohol and sugar. [...]
Source: Daily Mail, 25 Feb 2017

Alcohol 'kills 22 Scots a week and hospitalises 600 more'
Around 22 people in Scotland die from alcohol misuse each week, according to a snapshot of the nation’s health which paints a stark picture of the challenges facing the NHS. Alcohol abuse accounts for an average of 674 hospital admissions per week, according to the annual report by Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood. The report “Realising Realistic Medicine” also identified rising levels of hospital infections, the continuing battle against HIV and a high rate of obesity. A chapter titled “The Health of the Nation” noted Scotland continued to consume higher quantities of alcohol than elsewhere in the UK with sales 20 per cent higher north of the border than in England and Wales. [...]
Source: The Scotsman: 28 February 2017

Booze culture: Britain versus Australia – is alcohol political correctness going too far?
From the workplace to the pub, wild parties to family gatherings – Brits and Aussies both love a drink. But how much is too much, and are stricter laws and restrictions, such as Lloyd’s of London’s new alcohol ban, necessary? Despite calls for professionalism and better health and safety, work and alcohol seem intertwined. There were cries of protest and calls for Britain to examine its apparently growing culture of political correctness recently when Lloyd’s of London banned drinking during business hours. [...]
Source: Australian Times, 01 March 2017

Alcohol and Caffeine, Two Drugs that Have Shaped Human Civilization
Nature created both to kill creatures much smaller than us — plants evolved caffeine to poison insect predators, and yeasts produce ethanol to destroy competing microbes. The desire for a stable supply of alcohol could have motivated the beginnings of agriculture and non-nomadic civilization. True to its toxic origins, alcohol kills 3.3 million people each year, bringing about 5.9% of all deaths and 25% of deaths among people aged 20 to 39. Alcohol causes liver disease, many cancers, and other devastating health and social issues. On the other hand, research suggests that alcohol may have helped create civilization itself. [...]
Source: PanAm Post, 01 March 2017

'Waste of vodka': This Morning's alcohol cleaning tips slammed by viewers
Not everyone was impressed with Steve Wilson's life hacks Viewers of ITV's This Morning didn't seem too convinced as they were advised to clean their windows and shoes with VODKA as a 'life hack'. Steve Wilson suggested using the alcoholic beverage on their windows, and while hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield were amused by the boozy suggestion, people watching at home took to Twitter to criticise the idea. "Why would you waste vodka by using it as a cleaning product #thismorning (sic)," questioned one viewer, echoing the thoughts of other fans. [...]
Source: Mirror, 27 February 2017

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