Tackling alcohol misuse in the UK

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39496.556435.80 (Published 28 February 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:455
  1. Thomas F Babor, professor and chairman
  1. 1Department of Community Medicine and Health Care, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT 06030-6325, USA
  1. babor@nso.uchc.edu

Higher alcohol taxes and restricting availability are more likely to succeed than partnerships with industry

Nations, like people, can develop a pathological pattern of alcohol misuse. Ever since the Blair government consolidated its alcohol control policy around a “partnership” with the alcohol drinks industry,1 the United Kingdom has been anything but united about how to deal with the nation’s alcohol problems.2 3 While some people have seen collaboration with industry as a way of “disabling the public interest,”2 the ostensible rationale was to involve alcohol producers and retailers in new initiatives—such as voluntary limits on advertising, safer packaging, and codes of good conduct—to make town centres safer at night. In response to mounting evidence that this approach is not working,3 this week the BMA voices its opinion on how the problem should be tackled …

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