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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 December 2005, 15:07 GMT
Surgeon calls for pub drink limit
Beer being poured
Mr Smith said pub customers should be limited to three drinks per visit
A surgeon has called for pub landlords in Scotland to limit customers to three drinks per visit in order to tackle alcohol abuse.

John Smith, president of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, said it was the "logical step" following the ban on smoking in public places.

Mr Smith said the move was necessary if the authorities were serious about tackling unhealthy social habits.

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) said the idea was "impractical".

Mr Smith told the Sunday Times newspaper that legislation to ban smoking in public places was a welcome step.

Should we now limit the amount of drinks that can be served in pubs?
John Smith
RCSE president

He added: "The logical thing to recognise now is that smoking is very bad for you, but so is alcohol.

"Should we now limit the amount of drinks that can be served in pubs? If, as a nation, we are serious about trying to prevent illnesses associated with social habits, this is something that must be considered.

"We need to start a national debate on this issue and then, if the debate is carried, the government needs to look at practical ways in which limits, in terms of alcohol consumption, could be implemented."

'Outrageous idea'

But Paul Waterson, of the SLTA, said the idea was a non-starter and that the comparison with smoking was misleading since MSPs had not rationed tobacco consumption.

He said the SLTA was working closely with the Scottish Executive to tackle problem drinking.

"The problem with these outrageous ideas is that a lot of good work is being done to curb alcohol abuse in Scotland," said Mr Waterson.

"Ideas like these simply turn the public against what we are trying to do. This one is also totally impractical and not worthy of a serious debate."

Alcohol
The executive said it was working to tackle alcohol abuse

The executive said it had taken steps to tackle binge drinking by legislating to ban irresponsible drinks promotions and through an advertising campaign highlighting the dangers of alcohol abuse.

A spokesman added: "We know that excessive drinking carries with it serious health and other consequences, that is why we are developing a clear strategy and taking extensive measures to tackle alcohol abuse."

Liberal Democrat Central Scotland MSP Donald Gorrie, who has long argued for tougher measures to tackle binge drinking, said he believed sales could only be rationed through higher duty taxation.

"I don't think it is a solution but any discussion about how to change the culture and tackle the serious problems we have with binge drinking is welcome," he said.




SEE ALSO:
New bill reforms laws on alcohol
01 Mar 05 |  Scotland
Scots' excess drink cost 1.1bn
28 Feb 05 |  Scotland
Binge drinking link to rapes rise
17 Sep 04 |  Scotland


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