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Scotland proposes ban on under-21s purchasing alcohol

The Scottish government has launched its new approach to tackling alcohol misuse with the aim of changing Scotland's relationship with drink.

Key proposals include:

  • Raising the minimum age for off-sales alcohol purchases to 21.
  • Setting a minimum price at which a unit of alcohol can be sold.
  • Ending "three for the price of two" type promotions, which encourage impulse buying of extra alcohol.
  • A "social responsibility fee" for some alcohol retailers to help pay for the consequences of alcohol misuse and reduce the burden on the general taxpayer.
  • Introducing alcohol-only checkouts in large off-sales premises, so that alcohol, like cigarettes, is thought of as a special case and not "just another product".
  • Confirmation of a record £85m increase in alcohol prevention, treatment and support services, bringing total spend to £120m over the next three years.

Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing Nicola Sturgeon said: "The cost of alcohol misuse to our health service, our justice services and our economy is enormous and growing. The cost to our families, our communities and our society is incalculable.

"Now is the time for action to defuse the health time-bomb alcohol misuse is storing up for the future.

The total cost of alcohol misuse in Scotland is estimated at £2.25bn per year - £500 for every adult living in Scotland. Scotland has one of the fastest growing liver cirrhosis death rates in the world at a time when cirrhosis rates in most of Western Europe are falling

The Scottish Government

What do you think of these proposals? Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"The government and society need to address alcohol problems from two directions, the addictive side and also culturally. Research has shown that some people are predisposed to being addicted to alcohol, others treat it as an anaesthetic to their problems. But ultimately, unlike some of our European counterparts, we don't just go out for a drink, we go out to get drunk, 'out of it'. Their lies a problem that can't be addressed by changing the age limit." - Jackie, Perth, Scotland