by Gopalan on  October 7, 2008 at 7:40 PM Alcohol & Drug Abuse News
 Beer Cheaper Than Bottled Water in UK, Supermarket Chain Draws Flak
Beer seems to be cheaper than bottled water in UK. ASDA, the supermarket chain, has been denounced by critics for selling four cans of branded lager for just 90 pence - cheaper than a four-pack of water.

The packs of Skol lager, each containing 440ml of drink, work out at just 51 pence a litre, while a four-pack of 750ml bottles of Evian water costs £2.91- 97 pence a litre.

Thus at a time when alcohol consumption has been rising steadily in the country. New figures suggest that a third of men and a fifth of women drink more than the recommended levels each week.

Alcohol-related deaths have more than doubled since 1991 to more than 8,700 a year.

Don Shenker, chief executive of Alcohol Concern, slammed the supermarket's 'crazy practice' of selling cut-price alcohol cheaper than water.

He said: 'These low prices have a real impact both on underage drinkers and on heavy drinkers from lower social groups.

'This crazy practice of selling alcohol for so cheap does nothing for the community or for the supermarkets themselves because they make no money.

'Major chains such as Asda have a responsibility to weigh up in their minds the impact of these kind of promotions. The fact of the matter is price is a crucial determinant of how much we drink.'

Dr Vivienne Nathanson, Head of Science and Ethics at the British Medical Association, said: 'Alcohol abuse is a public health emergency. People need to be prepared to look at an increase in price.

'They may not want to pay more but they also don't want to see their neighbours, their children and their friends dying from liver failure in their 20s and 30s.As doctors we see first-hand how alcohol misuse destroys lives.'

Labour MP John Grogan, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group, is leading the campaign in Parliament, Daily Mail reported.

The MP said: 'This supermarket has a social responsiblity on the grounds of public health and public order.

'It seems wholly irresponsible to use cheap alcohol as a means to attract people into their store.'

 Conservative MP Nigel Evans, joint vice chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group, said: 'Selling alcohol at such a low price is extremely irresponsible.

'It is about time that supermarkets took responsibility for the health of their customers and stopped their aggressive promoting of alcohol over other products.

'I have grave concerns that people may even start to turn their backs on soft drinks because alcohol is shown as the more attractive option.

'The all-party group is concerned by the impact cheap alcohol is having on binge drinking and on our pubs.

'We are living in a time when 36 pubs are closing each week because they simply cannot compete with the prices charged in the large supermarkets.

'And I rather hope that supermarkets could settle on a code of conduct that would prevent such dramatic cuts in the price

A spokesman for Asda said: 'ASDA takes its role as a responsible retailer very seriously.

'We are committed to helping our customers drink responsibly and have already made significant changes across all of our stores to help combat the misuse of alcohol.

'A ban on promotions and the introduction of minimum pricing will create incentives for black markets.

'At the moment, there is little incentive for a black market because of the strong competition between retailers keeping price low for all consumers who need value in their weekly shopping basket now more than ever. We believe that all our customers deserve value across the whole of the store.' 


Source: Medindia

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