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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 March 2007, 09:12 GMT
Experts call for booze crackdown
Man drinking pint
The pressure group is concerned over the availability of cheap drink
A pressure group has called for a Scottish Parliament inquiry into alcohol-related health problems.

The move comes a month after Health Minister Andy Kerr announced a strategy for tackling alcohol abuse.

Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) is particularly worried about low-cost drink promotions in supermarkets and off-licences.

The group will present a petition to the parliament on Tuesday and will publish its parliamentary manifesto.

The organisation wants the health and community care committee to lead an inquiry into Scotland's alcohol problems.

It wants the Scottish Executive to look at extending the promotions mechanism in the Licensing (Scotland) Act to cover supermarkets, off-licences and shops as a means of preventing the low-cost promotion and sale of alcohol.

Stricter enforcement

The SHAAP manifesto calls for alcohol to be displayed separately from other goods in shops.

It recommends stricter enforcement of laws relating to alcohol use and residential programmes for people with alcohol problems throughout Scotland.

The appeal comes after school pupils last year petitioned parliament over concerns about the health implications of cheap alcohol and urged ministers to investigate.

The youngsters from All Saints School in Glasgow found that alcohol was often cheaper than bottled water.

The lower the cost of alcohol, the more alcohol is consumed and the worse our alcohol-related health problems become
Dr Bruce Ritson

Dr Bruce Ritson, chair of SHAAP, said alcohol was undermining the nation's health.

"The association between price and increased consumption of alcohol is well established in academic and medical circles, but perhaps less well known publicly," he said.

"Speaking plainly, the lower the cost of alcohol, the more alcohol is consumed and the worse our alcohol-related health problems become."

The executive published its strategy on alcohol abuse last month which included rolling out a scheme to crack down on retailers who sold alcohol to under-18s.

SHAAP is a medical advocacy group set up by the Scottish Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties to raise awareness of the costs of excessive alcohol consumption.

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