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The minimum price law for alcohol has recently been introduced in Scotland
The Scottish authorities report that the alcohol problem in Scotland is so great that groundbreaking action is needed. Since May 1st, 2018, new minimum prices for all alcoholic beverages have been applicable in Scotland. Experts and health insurance companies are now also calling for a significant increase in alcohol prices in Germany. The federal government's drug commissioner Marlene Mortler supports this request. In their opinion, cheap alcoholic beverages have nothing to do with enjoyment.
The government in Scotland has regulated the pricing of alcoholic beverages, given the link between consumption and harm and the fact that affordability of alcohol is one of the main drivers of increased consumption. Compared to 1980, alcohol in Scotland is 60 percent cheaper today, the official announcement. According to government information, it is possible to exceed the maximum amount considered harmful for less than three euros.
Strong international evidence
The Scottish government speaks of strong international evidence that raising the price can help reduce alcohol consumption and related harm. However, this is only part of the package of measures against the generally high alcohol consumption, the Scottish government explains on its website.
How does a minimum price for alcohol work?
The authorities report that, according to various studies, a minimum price per unit has emerged as the most effective option. Accordingly, a minimum price should be determined for alcoholic beverages based on the alcohol content they contain. One example is the cheap bag wine, which can be bought for around one euro and contains a relatively large amount of alcohol. Under the new law, this article must meet a minimum price per unit of alcohol contained. The more alcohol a drink contains, the stronger it is and the more expensive it will be.
What does the government expect from this measure?
This measure should have an impact in particular on harmful drinking. Anyone who drinks a lot will notice the extent of the price increase more clearly than those who only consume alcohol occasionally. Since more expensive and high-quality alcohol is already above the minimum price, not much will change in this area.
Drinks in pubs are not affected
In pubs, bars and restaurants, the current prices are above the minimum price of 50 pence (about 57 cents) per alcohol unit and are therefore not affected by the price increase, explains the Scottish government.
Minimum law also in Germany?
According to the Tagesschau, addiction experts in Germany are also in favor of introducing the minimum price for alcohol based on the Scottish model. "If you want to reduce alcohol consumption, you have to ensure that the disproportionately low prices for alcoholic beverages in Germany are raised", the statement of the managing director of the German center for addiction issues, Raphael Gassmann, is quoted to the Funke media group. According to Gassmann, it has been proven that more alcohol is drunk when it costs little.
A minimum price could be an important step
In addition to Gaßmann, the addiction expert of the AOK federal association, Kai Kolpatzik, is of the opinion that a minimum price can be an important first step in combating alcohol. According to Kolpatzik, Germany is one of the "high-consumption countries". The tax at the time on the alcoholic mixed drinks "Alkopops" had already shown that targeted taxation could initiate a positive lifestyle change.
Cheap alcohol has nothing to do with enjoyment
The federal government’s drug commissioner, Marlene Mortler, is also commenting on the minimum price. In our society, alcohol is "far too omnipresent, far too natural," said Mortler. Cheap alcoholic beverages at a discount price have nothing to do with enjoyment anymore, but aim at mass and encourage younger people with little income to drink, emphasizes the federal government's drug commissioner. (vb)