Scotland

Sales of spirits 'twice as high in Scotland'

Drink on display at an off-licence
Image caption The authors called for the affordability of alcohol and its relationship with consumption to be examined

People in Scotland are buying almost twice as much spirits as their counterparts in England and Wales, according to a report.

NHS Health Scotland found that total annual drink sales north of the border rose by 11% between 1994 and 2009.

The organisation said this increase was driven by a 53% jump in the amount of alcohol being sold through off-sales.

Annual sales of spirits were consistently almost double those in England and Wales during that 15 years.

The organisation said it was too early to tell if recent drops in alcohol-related deaths and hospital admissions would continue.

Alcohol-related deaths have fallen recently but Health Scotland said they were still twice as high in Scotland as in England and Wales.

Dr Laurence Gruer, NHS Health Scotland's director of public health science, said: "Alcohol-related deaths are three times higher and hospital admissions are four times higher than in the early 1980s.

"In the most recent years alcohol-related deaths and hospital admissions have declined.

"This is encouraging but it is important to look at long-term trends and it's certainly too early to tell if the recent improvements will continue."

More wine

The report, which was commissioned by the Scottish government in 2008, revealed that per capita alcohol sales in Scotland were now more than a fifth (21%) higher than those south of the border.

Most of the difference in alcohol sales between Scotland and England and Wales was in the off-trade, with more people north of the border buying drink from supermarkets and off-licences rather than pubs, clubs and restaurants.

Sales of wine in Scotland have also more than doubled since 1994 and adults north of the border now buy more wine per head than their counterparts in England and Wales.

The report's authors called for the affordability of alcoholic drinks and its relationship with consumption to be tracked over time.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites