News roundup: September 2019

October 2019 | 6 minutes

The monthly alcohol news roundup from the Alcohol Policy UK blog.

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

In the news

Early impact of Scottish MUP is starting to show

Minimum price 'cuts drinking by half a pint a week', according to a BBC headline following the release of new data on Scotland's minimum unit pricing (MUP), introduced in 2016. While households in England increased their consumption slightly, Scottish household’s alcohol purchasing was estimated to have fallen by 7.6% on average, equivalent to 1.2 units a week.

Meanwhile, the number of alcohol-related deaths in Glasgow fell by more than a fifth since MUP was introduced, reported ITV news. The figures, based on data from the city's Alcohol and Drugs Partnership (ADP), were presented at the British Association for the Study of the Liver (BASL) conference in Glasgow and also reported by the BBC. The BBC also commented on a study to look at the impact of MUP on the homeless to be led by Glasgow Caledonian University.

Duty-free alcohol as latest public incentive to support Johnson’s Brexit deal

A controversial announcement that the government will reintroduce duty-free purchases of cigarettes and alcohol with immediate effect if Britain leaves the EU without a deal on 31 October was reported by The Guardian. It described the announcement as the latest attempt to win public support for Boris Johnson’s Brexit stance.

Conversational approach is the best way to get pregnant women talking about alcohol

A ‘conversational approach’ is the most successful way of encouraging honest disclosure of drinking habits by pregnant women, reported the BBC. It followed a new study on midwives’ role in discussing alcohol use. It is estimated that more than 40% of women in the UK consume some alcohol during pregnancy, despite there being no known safe level in terms of the health of their unborn child.

Cocaine and alcohol a ‘deadly combination’

Mixing cocaine and alcohol together creates a ‘deadly combination’ which can increase violent and impulsive behaviour, doctors are warning, according to a BBC report. At least thirteen ‘self-inflicted’ deaths happened a year in England among people who took the two substances, according to the Victoria Derbyshire programme.

ASA accused of giving ‘green light’ to alcohol advertising on social media

The ASA, the advertising watchdog, has been accused of giving the ‘green light’ to alcohol brands to ‘blast’ children with social media promotions following a ground-breaking ruling on an Instagram influencer's social media post, reported The Telegraph. Alcohol charities raised concerns after the ASA dismissed complaints against YouTuber Tanya Burr after she advertised a home draught beer pump with Heineken to her three million Instagram followers.

University Freshers warned of the dangers of drinking too much

Freshers starting university were warned of the dangers of initiation ceremonies, reported The Guardian. This comes almost three years after an undergraduate was killed as a result of the ‘toxic effects’ of such events. Ed Farmer died after excessive drinking at an initiation event run by Newcastle University’s agricultural society in 2016.