Raise alcohol tax, say British scientists

March 4, 2004 at 3:15 PM

LONDON, March 4 (UPI) -- British scientists have called for increased taxes on alcohol to discourage drinking, which is up 50 percent since 1970, the BBC reports.

The report by Britain's Academy of Medical Sciences also recommends stricter blood-alcohol limits for drivers and an examination of advertising for alcohol.

The report advocates reducing the amount of alcohol that Britons can bring into the country. A 10 percent price increase could cut alcohol-related deaths by one-third the report said.

One consequence of heavier drinking is a nine-fold increase in deaths from cirrhosis of the liver. Alcohol is blamed for about 70 percent of cirrhosis deaths.

Alcohol-motivated crimes cost Britain about $13.4 billion (7.3 billion British pounds), the cost to employers is about $11.7 billion (6.4 billion British pounds) and the cost to Britain's health service is about $3.1 billion (1.7 billion British pounds). At least 15,000 hospital admissions per year are related to drinking.

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