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Blackburn doctor calls for tougher action on alcohol
A PUBLIC health expert has called for tough action on alcohol pricing, labelling and advertisements.
Blackburn with Darwen’s public health consultant Dr Helen Lowey said that residents were being bombarded with pro-alcohol messages without there being enough warnings of the dangers.
Dr Lowey is one of a number of national experts backing a new independent alcohol strategy calling for the Government to prioritise a minimum 50 pence per unit alcohol pricing to curb the nation’s drink problem.
The ideas being discussed would also see alcohol labels feature warnings covering one third of the label, similar to cigarette packets, instead of the current small print.
She said: “There are an awful lot of promotions and advertisements giving a positive message about alcohol. As a borough we support the plans for minimum alcohol pricing, but education and information are important too.
“We would like to see labels feature warnings more prominently.
“There would be an independent body set up to look at that and assess what is appropriate.
“The main thing is that we want to see people armed with information and able to make informed choices.”
The strategy’s recomm-endations argue that in order to address alcohol problems, steps are needed that go beyond messages about ‘responsible’ drinking to those that reduce alcohol sales, alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm.
Professor Linda Bauld from the University of Stirling led the development of the national report.
She said: “There is strong support for this strategy, not just from the numerous organ-isations who have endorsed it, but also from the public.
“A UK survey that we conducted with Yougov showed that the majority of people think that our relationship with alcohol is unhealthy and are aware of the significant impact it has on health, crime and disorder and the NHS.
“We found support for introducing warning labels on bottles, minimum unit pricing, restrictions on advertising and access to support and treatment for people addicted to alcohol.
“There is clearly an appetite for change, and our report sets out what needs to be done.”
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