Doctors have said that alcohol purchases should not be eligible for “customer loyalty points” as part of a series of measures to tackle the promotion of cheap alcohol in supermarkets. Doctors, who were attending the BMA’s annual conference in Brighton yesterday (Tuesday 29 June 2010)  also gave their backing to increasing the price of alcohol as a means of reducing alcohol consumption.

Dr Brian Keighley, Chairman of the BMA in Scotland, said:

“Most alcohol bought for consumption is from supermarkets. Supermarkets publicise special cut price deals on alcohol and offer special promotions to encourage bulk buying of cheap alcohol. There is a need to send the right message on drinking behaviour by not allowing ‘rewards’  for buying alcohol.

“It is important to remember that excessive alcohol consumption and binge drinking bring serious health harms. Alcohol it is not an ordinary commodity and stopping loyalty points - not available on cigarettes -  would be a tiny reminder of unequivocal harm caused.”

Dr Keighley added:

“Doctors from all branches of medicine are united in their support for a comprehensive strategy to tackle alcohol misuse in Scotland, central to this strategy are measures to increase price and we believe that minimum pricing is the most effective means to do this. Everyday we witness the harm that excess drinking can have on a patient’s health,  and on the lives of those around them. This is not a matter of profit,  but about improving the health and lives of Scots.”

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