Alcohol prices: Your comments
In this week's "Scrubbing Up", Professor Anne Ludbrook from the University of Aberdeen looks at who really pays for the alcohol we consume.
She argues that the problems caused by drinking can only be solved when the real price of alcohol is taken into consideration.
BBC News website readers have sent their comments.
More stupidity from people who clearly don't understand the problem. Alcoholics aren't just going to reduce their drinking because it's going to cost more. It will just lead to more crime to pay for their addiction. My late husband was an alcoholic and would do whatever it took to get his fix. Minimum pricing would just affect moderate drinkers and cause them to cut down, but would do nothing to alleviate the problem of binge drinkers, alcoholics and the associated costs of clearing up after them. There needs to be a shift of emphasis from trying to price them out of the market to ensuring there is adequate quality rehabs and dry houses to encourage people to kick the habit. This apporach doesn't even seem to be considered because it costs money. There are too many people in government who know the cost of everything but the value of nothing. Rebecca, Exeter, UK
I think that it is necessary to put curbs on alcohol intake, whether it be a minimum price, opening hours or a curb on consumption. I live in Denmark, where there are other norms for drinking than those I grew up with in the USA. I have worked as a bartender and a bouncer and in clubs here in Copenhagen and I am amazed at the binge-drinking culture. I do not serve alcohol for people who are as drunk as a lot of customers are. I cannot condone anyone doing so. When I see young, vulnerable women who drink too much and are going to leave the club, it worries me. Most of the time when there are sexual assaults, alcohol is involved. Unfortunately, I also have neighbours who abuse alcohol. I can only say that it does not get better with age! L. Smith, Copenhagen, Denmark
I am all for a minimum price on alcohol. I agree entirely with the points made by Professor Anne Ludbrook. Why should we all pay for the alcohol excesses of some and continue to give tacit 'support' to supermarkets who use the price of beer as loss leaders? It is outrageous that this has been allowed to go on for so long. It is damaging to the individual and to society and it allows supermarkets to get away with fuelling these excesses without any regard for the consequences. Geraldine, London, UK
I think upping the price of certain alcohol types would help problem-drinking a little as I've lost count of the times I've seen teenagers with their cheap booze on a Friday night drinking around the streets. But I do not think it will stop the problem. I think we need more police officers on foot patrols during times when this is a real problem, like Friday and Saturday nights. They need to confiscate alcohol from people who are not old enough to drink it. Perhaps raising the legal age at which we can consume alcohol would help too.
I don't think the average person who buys a bottle of wine once a week should be punished by having to pay more though. People who are admitted to hospital or have to be dealt with by the police due to alcohol should be fined or given community service. If these regular alcohol abusers where punished they might think twice about what they're doing instead of getting a slap on the wrist. Kath, Durham, UK
This may be true, but don't we all pay for hospitals to sort out smokers, road casualties - where the accidents were the driver's fault, and many other things where they act like insurance? Isn't it called the welfare state - even if some flagrantly abuse the goodwill it endows on us all? Oliver, UK
Alcohol in this country is already overpriced compared to other European countries and the only reason is taxes. For too many people, being drunk is a good excuse to free their natural (repressed) instincts and release violence against people and things. So, no, there should not be a minimum price for alcohol but, instead, much more severe punishments for all alcohol-related anti-social behaviour and crimes. Massimo, Cambridge, UK
Yes there should be a minimum price. This does however need to be targeted at supermarkets and in particular the extremely low-cost products. Alan, London, UK
If the cheaper, low quality, stuff is forced up in price the higher quality stuff, already above this 50p per unit level, and not generally drunk by the people causing the problems, will be increased as well to maintain the distinction. It won't lower the amount of drinking much, it will just change what people drink. They'll start making their own cider (it's not exactly complicated). Take it far enough and you'll bring back the prohibition style "bathtub" stills and overload the hospitals with methanol poisoning. A. Sutcliff, Halifax, UK
There should not be a minimum price for alcohol. In a free market any retailer is entitled to sell any non-essential product at the price they choose without government interference. As a responsible drinker, why should I be hit by a price increase just because the government wants an easy option to target the irresponsible minority? Make people contribute directly towards the costs of their alcohol-linked health issues at the time when they require a doctor, hospital, or drug. This should be extended to cover the situation with smokers and tobacco related illness. Brian, Nottingham, UK
I am getting really fed up with the health police. There can surely be no one who does not understand that drinking to excess is not good for you. In the short term it leaves the unfortunate reveller with a dreadful headache and bad tummy. Long term abuse leads to well-documented health problems. Why cannot responsible drinkers be allowed to take advantage of price reductions and deals? A far greater impact would be if the police enforced the licensing laws, arresting drunks, prosecuting bar staff who serve drunks. Being drunk in public is an offence and should be dealt with as is serving intoxicated persons. I remember listening to a piece on the "Today programme" where a police officer gave words of advice to a man so drunk he was picking a fight with a bus shelter. Words of advice - arrest the person concerned, fine him heavily then he won't do it next time. Jeremy, Milton Keynes, UK