London, U.K.-- Scotland has become the first country in the world to set a minimum price for cheap, high-strength alcohol.
The move is aimed at stopping excessive drinking. Tina Kraus has the story from London.
Scotland is serving up a world first to drinkers setting a minimum price for cheap booze.
The more alcohol in a drink the more expensive it will be.
Lawmakers say it's a small price to pay to save lives.
Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland said, “Without action that targets the affordability of alcohol then we won't make the progress we need to see.”
The idea is to target super-strength liquor that can attract problem drinkers. Research suggests the policy could save around 400 lives in the first five years.
Dr. Alastair Macgilchrist, a liver specialist said, “When alcohol prices rise, deaths from alcohol fall and when alcohol prices fall, deaths from alcohol rise every time.”
Retailers must charge at least 50 pence that's about 70 cents for each unit of alcohol. The cost of some of the cheapest drinks like strong cider, vodka and whiskey has tripled.
Linda Williams a shopkeeper said, “We have a lot of customers who are on a very very low income and they don't have a lot of money to spend and maybe on a Friday or Saturday, they want a bottle of cheap cider because that's all they can afford and I think it's quite unfair on them.”
Recovering alcoholic Darren McGarvey says he's glad the government stepped in because he says cheap booze can help fuel addiction.
Darren McGarvey said, “I know what that culture does to contribute to these problems.”
Scotland has the highest rate of alcohol related deaths in the UK.
Wales is now considering similar alcohol pricing measures, while lawmakers in England say they will first monitor how well Scotland's policy works.