A new report highlights an association between particular alcoholic drinks and early death.

Of more than 600 heavy drinkers followed by the study, around one in six died during its three year duration. The results suggested a clear links between that outcome and being a drinker of strong, cheap, white cider. Drinkers of cheap vodka also appeared more likely to end up deceased.

This raises some key questions. Is there something inherently harmful about these drinks in themselves? Or do those who seek out such sources of strong, very cheap alcohol have habits of consumption which are more likely to be lethal?

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The latter is more credible. One conclusion is that health services aiming to save lives should seek out consumers of such productsin a bid to save lives.

But this also adds further weight to the case for the minimum pricing of alcohol in Scotland. A floor price of 50 pence per unit would have covered both those who died, who paid an average 38 pence per unit, and those who were still alive at the study’s conclusion – who paid 46 pence.

Minimum pricing alone may not have prevented these deaths. But it would help. The evidence is mounting that cheap booze is killing Scots and the self interest of elements in the alcohol industry cannot continue to stand in the way of change.