Cigarettes are taxed, in part, at high rates as part of a health prevention effort to reduce tobacco use. The UK's government is following a similar thought process to reduce binge drinking by establishing a minimum price to charge for purchasing alcohol, basing the cost on the "unit" being purchased.
It is thought that the cheap and accessible alcohol leads to binge drinking done primarily as a pre-party routine to cut down on the costs of buying drinks once out for the night. The government has estimated that this behavior and the results of it have cost the tax-payers 4 billion dollars for health services, and it is their hope that with this policy change, these costs to the public will decrease and 210,000 binge-drinking deaths could be prevented.
As you may guess, retailers for alcohol, such as grocery stores and pubs, are not happy with this government proposal as it will likely affect their bottom line. But what do you think? Do you think increasing the cost of alcohol will reduce binge-drinking? What about reducing alcohol consumption when it comes to pre-gaming?
Read more about it here: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/23/britain-alcohol-pricing-idUSL6E8EN4TA20120323