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SHAAP's Policy Priorities
Tackling Scotland's Alcohol Problem

SHAAP's Policy Priorities

Scotland has become a global leader in effective alcohol policy. SHAAP are dedicated to improving alcohol policy in Scotland in order to reduce the burden of alcohol-related harm. Alcohol policy refers to a range of measures formulated and implemented by government and other public authorities that are designed to prevent, improve, or treat the health and social problems associated with alcohol use.

In September 2018, WHO launched its new SAFER initiative, which is backed by a range of partners including the United Nations and the Scottish Government. SAFER is a package of five evidence-based, high impact strategies which WHO recommends governments should prioritise to tackle alcohol-related harm.

  • Strengthen restrictions on alcohol availability.
  • Advance and enforce drink driving countermeasures.
  • Facilitate access to screening, brief interventions, and treatment.
  • Enforce bans or comprehensive restrictions on alcohol advertising, sponsorship, and promotion.
  • Raise prices on alcohol through excise taxes and pricing policies.


Source: World Health Organisation 


SHAAP’s policy priorities focus primarily on marketing, availability, and price of alcohol.


Alongside advertising and sponsorship, the ‘marketing mix’ for alcohol includes celebrity endorsement, outdoor advertising, the use of social media and branded merchandise, and special offer promotions.

The World Health Organization recommends placing restrictions on alcohol advertising and sponsorship as part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. In particular, the link between advertising and young people’s attitudes to, knowledge and use of alcohol is well known. Alcohol advertising and promotion increases both the likelihood that adolescents will start to drink and the amount that they will drink if they already consume alcohol. WHO’s position is clear:

‘All children and adolescents have the right to grow up in an environment protected from the negative consequences of alcohol consumption and, to the extent possible, from the promotion of alcoholic beverages’.

Our policy priorities include the adaption and restriction of marketing in a variety of forms, including tv and social media advertising, sports sponsorship, and labelling.

Alcohol availability and sales

The relationship between the physical availability of alcohol in society, the ease and convenience with which it can be obtained, and levels of alcohol consumption and harm has been explored in a large number of research studies from different countries. Strong evidence shows that increasing access to alcohol through more outlets and longer trading hours affects a range of alcohol-related harms. Overall, the evidence suggests that restricting the availability of alcohol can contribute to a reduction in alcohol-related problems.


In 2018, the World Health Organisation (WHO) launched the SAFER inititative, which outlines the 5 most cost effective interventions to reduce alcohol-related harm.

The final intervention calls to: "Raise prices on alcohol through excise taxes and pricing policies" as "Alcohol taxation and pricing policies are among the most effective and cost-effective alcohol control measures. An increase in excise taxes on alcoholic beverages is a proven measure to reduce harmful use of alcohol and it provides governments revenue to offset the economic costs of harmful use of alcohol."

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