News roundup: June 2018

Maddy Lawson | July 2018 | 6 minutes

Each month we publish a news roundup from the Alcohol Policy UK blog. Since the May roundup

In the news

Welsh Assembly passes MUP

On 19 June, the Welsh Assembly passed a bill to introduce minimum unit pricing in Wales. This follows the introduction of the policy in Scotland earlier this year. This will prevent the sale of very cheap, high-strength alcohol, which is one of the main drivers of alcohol harm. BBC

Consultation announced into alcohol at airports

A forthcoming consultation on how alcohol is sold at airports has been reported. With increasing numbers of alcohol-related problems on flights and at airports over recent years, calls have been made to review the licensing exemptions at airports. A Home Office spokesperson said: “We will issue a Call for Evidence to assess the impact that an extension of the Licensing Act to airside premises at airports in England and Wales could have on reducing alcohol-related disruptive passenger behaviour.” Read more about alcohol and travel, and book tickets to Alcohol Concern Wales’s conference on the subject.

UK beer sales at lowest point in two years

UK beer sales dropped by 1.7% to their lowest point in two years, according to new data from the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), as alcohol consumption worldwide continues to steadily fall. The Drinks Business.

CAMRA festival offers alcohol-free range for the first time

The Great British Beer Festival will be offering an alcohol-free beer range for the very first time from Dutch-based craft brewer Braxzz. This will be the first year that a non-alcoholic beer range will be available at the festival, which has been running since 1977. The Drinks Business

Investigation into expert witnesses in drink driving case

The “smoke and mirror” tactics of defence lawyers in drink-driving cases have been criticised by the government’s forensic science regulator, who has launched an investigation into the work of a number of expert witnesses. Guardian

Retailers in Scotland report on the first two months of minimum unit pricing

Retailers speaking to the Scottish Grocer about minimum unit pricing in Scotland reported positive impacts such as fewer anti-social behaviour incidents, switching to lower strength drinks and increased business for local convenience stores over supermarkets, while some suggested shoplifting had resulted.

Rum’s popularity increases

New figures published by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association have shown that annual sales of rum in Britain have topped £1 billion for the first time, now ranking it alongside whisky and gin as one of the nation's favourite drinks. Express

Uber developing technology to determine is users are “drunk or high”

App based taxi giant Uber is reportedly developing technology to determine whether users are “drunk or high”. The Guardian article explored the potential uses of such information, notably highlighting potential abuses and Uber's track record of data misuse.

Research

Alcohol can affect teenage girls’ bone mass

Teenage girls who regularly drink large volumes of alcohol may fail to reach their peak bone mass, according to new research. The US study found those who had frequently binged since high school had lower bone mass in their spines than their peers. Independent

Binge drinking may increase young men’s blood pressure

Meanwhile, binge drinking may raise blood pressure in younger men. US researchers found men who drank 5 or more alcoholic drinks in a day several times a year had higher blood pressure and total cholesterol than those who didn't. NHS Choices

Study finds people who don’t drink at all are more likely to take sick days

People who don’t drink at all are more likely to take sick days off work than their peers who drink a moderate amount, a new study has found. Researchers investigating the “U-shaped” relationship between alcohol and absenteeism in the UK, France and Finland found sickness rates were higher in people who drank heavily or not at all, reported the Independentand others. NHS Choices unpacked the evidence and concluded that the study supports sticking to the low risk alcohol guidelines of 14 units a week.

Features

Following the sudden death of superstar DJ Avicii, the Guardian explored pancreatitis in 'Binge-drink Britain: how one weekend bender can ruin your life'.

The Independent looked at the dangers of suddenly stopping chronic heavy drinking in 'Why alcohol withdrawal can be deadly'.