Alcohol pricing – Mulled whines


Alcohol pricing – Mulled whines

People are drinking less but doing so more harmfully. Policymakers want higher prices—causing a headache for the booze industry

BY DAY tourists flock to Plaza de España in central Madrid to snap photos beside the sculpture of Miguel de Cervantes, author of “Don Quixote”. By night a newer facet of Spanish culture is on display: loitering groups of young people downing plastic bottles of whisky and vodka mixed with Fanta Lemon. The ground is littered with empties. Nearby, three young men help a friend vomiting on the pavement. 

Such carousing was once rare in Spain. A Mediterranean drinking culture prevailed in which alcohol was taken only with food. That is changing. In Spain and many other rich countries, alcohol intake is becoming a bigger problem—for some groups. Overall, the global consumption of alcohol has been stable since 1990, according to the World Health Organisation. Around half of the planet’s population is teetotal. But those who drink alcohol do so more hazardously. Policymakers are looking for ways to address this. A new and much-watched experiment in Scotland, for example, involves setting a minimum price for each unit of alcohol.  [Read more]


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