Jo visited ASDA Bearsden yesterday to mark Alcohol Awareness Week and find out what ASDA is doing to promote responsible drinking.
Jo is marking alcohol awareness week by calling on ministers and policy makers to encourage more responsible alcohol marketing to help bring about the culture change needed to tackle Scotland’s damaging relationship with alcohol. A BBC Scotland investigation this week revealed that alcohol plays a major role in 68% of Scottish Ambulance Service call outs at weekends.
David Paterson, Head of Scottish Affairs for ASDA, invited Jo Swinson to their Bearsden branch to learn about ASDA’s policies to promote responsible drinking. ASDA pioneered the ‘Think 25′ policy, requiring cashiers to ID anyone buying alcohol who looks under 25, which has now been adopted by several other retailers. ASDA has introduced a range of measures, including using tills which prompt cashiers to ask for ID and employing ‘mystery shoppers’ to ensure their cashiers are complying with the policy.
Commenting, Jo said:
“Many local people are concerned about the effects of heavy drinking on the local community, and it is vital that we do more to raise awareness of the dangers among people of all ages. The figures from the Scottish Ambulance Service highlight just how widespread and damaging this problem is in Scotland.
“Adopting responsible marketing campaigns is a good first step toward tackling the problems we have with alcohol consumption in Scotland. ASDA is leading the way among retailers when it comes to proactively promoting responsible drinking and I was very impressed by the range of measures they have taken. The Government must also focus on creating the culture change needed to tackle Scotland’s battle with the bottle and using existing laws to crack down on irresponsible retailers and bars.
“I will soon be publishing the results of my survey of local retailers and their alcohol sales policies, which I hope will identify good practices that can be adopted more widely, as well as revealing areas for improvement.”
Alcohol awareness week runs from 4th – 10th October and aims to raise awareness of the dangers of alcohol abuse and encourage responsible drinking across Scotland.