The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) has welcomed a major new evidence review on the health impacts of alcohol, published by Public Health England (PHE) on 2nd December 2016). RSPH believes the findings should provide fresh impetus for the Government to take firm action to tackle alcohol harm, including the introduction of Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP).

The latest review indicates that 10 million people in England are drinking at levels that may be damaging to their health. It also confirms that alcohol is now the leading risk factor for ill health, early mortality and disability among 15-49 year olds.

The review assesses the effectiveness of policies for reducing alcohol harm, and finds policies that reduce the exposure of children to alcohol advertising, and which tackle the availability of cheap alcohol through taxation and price regulation, such as MUP, have the greatest potential. MUP is already on its way to implementation in Scotland following a successful legal review.

Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive RSPH said: “The health harms of alcohol affect all sectors of society, but are felt most by the poorest and most vulnerable. All the evidence now points to MUP as one of the most effective potential ways to tackle these inequalities in harm. We are hopeful that this mounting evidence will be taken on board by Government.

Advertising is another key area where action is required. The more our children are exposed to alcohol advertising, the more likely they are to drink frequently and in greater quantities, harming their health and life chances from an early age. If the Government is serious about protecting the health of our children, it must take on board the evidence and act to regulate in this area.”