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Scotland: minimum alcohol pricing fails to dent underage drinking habits

20 March 2020

Minimum unit pricing (MUP) of alcohol has had no impact on under-18s’ drinking habits, say researchers

The first study published into under-18 drinkers since the introduction of MUP in Scotland, commissioned by NHS Health Scotland, found no effect on young people’s acquisition or consumption of alcohol, or on alcohol-related behaviours.

Interviews with 13- to 17-year-olds showed that price was not seen as an important factor in drinking behaviour. They did not report changing what or how much they drank, or how they obtained their alcohol, in response to price alone.

However, adults in Scotland now purchase 7.5% less alcohol a week – equivalent to 9.5 grams per adult per week, or 26.3 units each year.

Jane Ford, principal public health intelligence adviser at NHS Health Scotland, said: ‘At a population level, there is evidence from other countries that pricing policies reduce consumption and alcohol-related harm, but there is less evidence available of the impact of pricing policies on children and young people specifically.’

Image credit | iStock

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