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My View: Drink by all means - but in moderation

Published:  18 January, 2007

Last week the BMA launched a report on tackling alcohol misuse in the UK.

Then there are the longer- term problems of liver, heart and other diseases. Patients with alcohol problems can wait months for specialist help and in this time their problems can spiral out of control.

The BMA report is making some tough suggestions, but that is what is needed. Since 1997, taxes on wine and beer in the UK have only increased in line with inflation, while taxes on spirits have not increased at all.

There is strong and consistent evidence that price increases result in reduced consumption, and that increased opening hours are associated with increased alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems. The government needs to act on this evidence.

Dr Vivienne Nathanson is head of science and ethics at the BMA