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Support for minimum pricing
International health experts at the World Health Organization have called on countries to introduce minimum pricing for alcohol, as part of their global strategy to reduce alcohol related harm.
The strategy, which was formally adopted at the World Health Assembly in Geneva this week, concludes that 'increasing the price of alcoholic beverages is one of the most effective interventions to reduce harmful use of alcohol'.
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said:
"The support in favour of our minimum pricing policy is now overwhelming, particularly among health professionals who recognise the harm that alcohol is doing to our communities.
"But it's not just influential health organisations like the British Medical Association, WHO and the Royal Colleges who back us. Minimum pricing has also won the support of - among others - the police, children's charities, Tennents, Molson Coors and, earlier this week, Tesco.
"They recognise that the time for action is now. Scotland simply cannot afford to do nothing as the cost in both human and financial terms is too high.
"I look forward to receiving the Stage 1 report from the Health Committee, which has been scrutinising our Alcohol Bill."
The total cost of alcohol misuse to Scotland is estimated to be £3.56 billion per year. This equates to £900 per year for every adult living in Scotland.
Alcohol consumption in the UK has more than doubled since the 1950s.
Alcohol is now around 70 per cent more affordable than it was in 1980 and consumption has increased by around 20 per cent over the same period.