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Last Updated: Monday, 25 June 2007, 00:46 GMT 01:46 UK
Doctors in cheap drink ban plea
Drink prices
The BMA wants to ban discount alcohol
Medical chiefs have called for a crackdown on cheap alcohol sales in Scotland.

The British Medical Association (BMA) Scotland also wants a ban on alcohol advertising at sporting and entertainment events.

The doctors' group made the demands in a paper published at the opening of the BMA's annual UK conference in Torquay.

It said there had been an increase in the number of young people with serious illness from alcohol misuse.

In the paper, BMA Scotland called on the Scottish Executive to end heavily discounted of alcohol for sale in off-licences and supermarkets.

Alcohol kills six people every day in Scotland, according to the association.

The number of patients discharged from hospital with alcoholic liver disease has also more than doubled in the past 10 years.

Worryingly, more and more teenagers are drinking at an earlier age and we must do more to combat this trend
Dr Peter Terry
BMA Scotland

Dr Peter Terry, chairman of the BMA in Scotland, said the death toll was "completely unacceptable".

"Worryingly, more and more teenagers are drinking at an earlier age and we must do more to combat this trend," he said.

"Increasing price is one part of a strategy that can deter children from purchasing alcohol.

"The BMA would also like to see more done in primary schools to educate children about the dangers of drink before they are drawn in by industry advertising."

The plan calls on the executive use the 2005 Licensing (Scotland) Act to end the sale of heavily discounted alcohol.

It also wants to examine how pricing can be used in Scotland to discourage heavy consumption of high-alcohol products.

Entertainment events

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill pledged to crack down on "irresponsible" alcohol promotions earlier this month.

He said the Licensing Act, which comes into effect in 2009, bans certain types of promotions in pubs and clubs and some in shops.

The BMA paper said drinks firms' sponsorship of sporting and entertainment events with a young target audience gave alcohol "innocence by association".

It calls for new laws to be brought in to show how many units of alcohol each product contains.

BMA Scotland also wants to see the SNP administration lobby Westminster to reduce the drink-drive limit from 80mg to 50mg and introduce random breath testing in Scotland.

Street drinking

In a separate development, police have praised a pilot scheme aimed at curbing underage drinking and youth disorder across Ayrshire.

The initiative involved marking bottles with special codes in 100 shops to show where the drink had come from.

More than 200 underage people were reported for street drinking.

Thirteen people who knowingly bought drink for under-18s and seven licence holders who sold youngsters alcohol were also caught.

The scheme is being extended for a further six months and will include all off-sales premises in Ayrshire.


SEE ALSO
High price of 'drinking culture'
19 Jun 07 |  South of Scotland
Liver disease 'doubles in decade'
18 Jun 07 |  Scotland
Scottish drink death toll goes up
19 Dec 05 |  Scotland
Alcohol takes toll on Scots NHS
15 Dec 05 |  Scotland
Slight fall in drink admissions
17 Nov 04 |  Scotland

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