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Last Updated: Friday, 19 October 2007, 23:06 GMT 00:06 UK
Doctors back alcohol label call
Doctors say drinkers need clear information
Doctors have called for compulsory labelling of alcohol in a bid to help tackle binge drinking.

British Medical Association Scotland leaders want more consistent information on the alcohol content and the number of units on drink labels.

The move comes days after a study revealed that a million Scots are drinking at potentially harmful levels.

The call precedes Scotland's first ever Alcohol Awareness Week, which is due to start on Monday.

Dr Peter Terry, chairman of the BMA in Scotland, said: "Binge drinking and alcohol misuse have serious social, psychological and physical consequences.

BMA Scotland believes that much more should be done to promote sensible, moderate drinking
Dr Peter Terry
Chairman BMA Scotland

"BMA Scotland believes that much more should be done to promote sensible, moderate drinking and to move away from the cultural norm of drinking to get drunk."

He added: "The only way that individuals can keep a check on their own drinking patterns is to have access to clear information about what they are consuming.

"Consistent information on alcohol content and units along with guidelines on the daily drinking limits would help people to better understand their own drinking habits.

"By legislating for standardised labelling on all alcohol products, we can avoid mixed messages and help people to make informed choices about what they drink."

'Drinking problem'

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: "We want the alcohol industry to ensure the information people need to know to help gauge how much they're drinking is easily identifiable.

"That information should be on drinks labels. The Scottish drinks industry are working alongside the Scottish Government and the medical professions to promote a sensible approach to alcohol - and this is one area they could do more on.

"Legislation on this is reserved, but if there are no voluntary developments from the industry, we will enter into discussions with Westminster on how we can strengthen the rules."

Man drinking pint
Alcohol costs the NHS in Scotland an estimated 110m a year

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Ross Finnie MSP called on the Scottish Government to urge the Westminster Government to introduce compulsory labelling of alcohol.

Mr Finnie said: "I want to see the Scottish Government marking Alcohol Awareness week with real action to tackle Scotland's booze culture.

"The Liberal Democrats support the BMA's campaign to tackle binge drinking."

BMA Scotland also wants an end to the deep discounting of alcohol in off-licences and supermarkets and for research to be carried out into the way pricing can be used to discourage heavy consumption of drinks with a high alcohol content.

Doctors are also calling for an end to alcohol producers' sponsorship of sporting and entertainment events which target a young audience.

Why doctors are in favour of labelling

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