Latest data on alcohol published

The latest data on alcohol has been published by The Monitoring and Evaluating Scotland’s Alcohol Strategy (MESAS). The report includes key indicators on alcohol for Scotland, including sales data, price and affordability, self-reported consumption, and harm. The full report and additional files are available here

New research exploring the links between alcohol availability and harm in Scotland

Alcohol Focus Scotland has worked with the Centre for Research on Environment, Society and Health (CRESH) at the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, to provide further evidence of the links between alcohol availability and harm in Scotland. 

Previous research carried out by CRESH in 2014 found a positive relationship between alcohol availability and harm across Scotland.  An updated analysis was published in April 2018; profiles containing the updated findings, at both a national and individual local authority level, can be accessed via the links below.  Detailed local information on availaiblity at neighbourhood level can be found using the CRESH WebMap.

How was the research conducted?

Information was gathered on the number of places selling alcohol, health harms and crime rates within neighbourhoods across the whole of Scotland and for each local authority area. Researchers compared data zones (small areas representing neighbourhoods that have between 500 and 1000 residents) to see if there was a relationship between the number of alcohol outlets in a neighbourhood and the rates of alcohol-related deaths and hospitalisations.  The profiles also consider, for the first time, the relationships between alcohol outlet availability and crime and deprivation rates.

What did the research find?

Across the whole of Scotland, neighbourhoods with the highest alcohol outlet availability had significantly higher rates of alcohol-related health harm and crime.

  • Alcohol-related death rates in neighbourhoods with the most alcohol outlets were double those in neighbourhoods with the least.
  • Alcohol-related hospitalisation rates in neighbourhoods with the most alcohol outlets were almost double those in neighbourhoods with the least.
  • Crime rates were more than four times higher in neighbourhoods with the most alcohol outlets as compared to the least.
  • Alcohol outlet availability was found to be related to health and crime outcomes for both on-sales and off-sales premises, and in both urban and rural local authorities.
  • The relationships between availability and harm were found even when other factors were discounted (such as age and sex of the population, levels of income deprivation or urban/rural status).
  • There were 40% more alcohol outlets in the most deprived neighbourhoods than in the least deprived neighbourhoods.
  • From 2012 to 2016, the total number of alcohol outlets in Scotland increased by 472 to 16,629 (11,522 on-sales outlets and 5,107 off-sales outlets).  This increase was driven by an increase in off-sales outlets.

The profiles are available for download from Alcohol Focus Scotland’s website.

Love Your Liver Scotland Roadshow

The Love Your Liver campaign aims to raise awareness of risk factors, prevent liver disease and improve early diagnosis. This event gives people a chance to take an online screener and if the results indicate a high risk, we may be able to offer a non-invasive liver check with a Fibroscan machine. During April, the British Liver Trust is organising events in four Scottish cities:

Saturday 21 April – Aberdeen (10am-4pm)
St Nicholas Street, Aberdeen, AB10 1BF

Sunday the 22 April – Dundee (10am-4pm)
City Square, DD1 3BB

Monday the 23 April – Glasgow (10am-4pm)
George Square, G2 1DU

Tuesday the 24 April – Edinburgh (10am-4pm)
The Mound Precinct, EH2 2EL

Find more information about the campaign at

Alcohol Policy in Practice CPD

Following the successful Alcohol CPD courses held in 2014-2017; the line-up for the 2018 course is now announced, featuring some exciting new inputs. The CPD course is organised by the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, led by Dr Niamh Fitzgerald and will this year be held in Bath 11-13 September, 2018. The course is aimed at anyone wishing to gain an in-depth understanding and up to date insight into evidence and innovative practice in alcohol policy in the UK and internationally. Previous participants have included people working in public health, local and national alcohol policy, or alcohol research; from Iceland to New Zealand.

This year’s course will feature inputs from Prof. Anna Gilmore and colleagues from the University of Bath, Dr Carol Emslie from Glasgow Caledonian University, Dr James Nicholls from Alcohol Research UK, and Professor Karine Gallopel-Morvan from the EHESP School of Public Health, France. The course will also welcome the return of highly-rated inputs from leading experts such as Katherine Brown from the Institute of Alcohol Studies and Colin Shevills of Balance North East.

More information about the course and how to register can be found at

New research around gender stereotypes of alcohol consumption in Scotland launched at Scottish Parliament

On 21 March, researchers from Glasgow Caledonian University and University of Stirling, Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP), and the Institute for Alcohol Studies (IAS) organised an event in the Scottish Parliament on alcohol and gender. The event was hosted by MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton, who noted in his welcome speech that Scotland has an “unhealthy relationship with alcohol”. Whilst the harm caused by alcohol in Scotland is clear, new research show that the portrayal of women’s drinking, for example in the media, is framed as problematic despite that more Scottish men are dying from alcohol-related causes. Such portrayals may lead to a lack of attention to the groups most at risk of alcohol-related harm. Dr Carol Emslie and Dr Niamh Fitzgerald gave an overview of their research into gender stereotypes of alcohol consumption, which provides clear recommendations for future research, policy and practice. Importantly, their research also found that studies which explore the impact of policy interventions to a great extent suffer from “gender blindness”, in that they lack in-depth analysis of potentially differential effects on men and women, as well as unintended consequences.

During the second part of the event, Victoria Troy from SHAAP and Katherine Brown from IAS presented an overview of the Women and Alcohol seminars, held during 2017. The discussions during the events are summarised in a new report, launched on the day of the event. The focus of this seminar series was on challenges faced by women in relation to alcohol. A key issue that was raised during the presentation was around marketing of alcohol, which on the one hand has taken advantaged of female empowerment which is used in the framing advertising targeting women. On the other hand, there are ample examples of adverts aimed at men, using objectification and sexualisation of the female body to advertise alcohol products, which strongly undermine gender equality and female empowerment. Along a number of recommendations, the report specifically gave suggestions for how gender equality can be addressed through alcohol marketing policy interventions.

More information about alcohol and gender in Scotland, including the launched infographics, can be found at: