Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Alcohol and Public Health

Commentary: Minimum unit price—how the evidence stacks up

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 08 January 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g67
  1. Nick Sheron, head of clinical hepatology1,
  2. Kate Eisenstein, senior policy adviser2
  1. 1University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
  2. 2Royal College of Physicians, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to: N Sheron nick.sheron{at}

A minimum unit price exquisitely targets the heaviest drinkers, find Nick Sheron and Kate Eisenstein

The mean weekly alcohol consumption of patients with alcoholic cirrhosis is around 15 bottles of white wine or 5 bottles of vodka, 20 litres of super strong lager, or 20 litres of strong white cider brewed from fructose syrup.1 2 As a result, irrespective of income, these very heavy drinkers opt for the cheapest possible alcohol—currently around 30 pence (€0.36; $0.49) per unit. The average low risk drinker already pays around £1/unit of alcohol …

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