Healthy living

Tesco accused of encouraging binge drinking

Tesco accused of encouraging binge drinking Wine on sale at £1.11 a bottle

Supermarket giant Tesco has been accused of fuelling binge drinking by selling bottles of wine for just £1.11.

Yet only two months ago, the Tesco group came out in support of a government campaign to crack down on the sale of 'below cost' alcohol - ie alcohol which is sold at a cheaper price than it costs the retailer to buy it, aiming to cut down the amount of cheap drink widely available on the high street and from supermarkets.

However, a 13 per cent proof Bulgarian Chardonnay under the Silver Rock label which is normally sold at £2.99 per bottle is being sold at a Tesco store in West Lothian, Scotland for just £1.11.

Dr Evelyn Gillian, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland said the incident begged the question whether supermarkets could be trusted to self regulate themselves.

Binge drinking

The UK has one of the highest binge drinking rates in Europe. Although often associated with inexperienced teenagers, an estimated one in four adults in England admit to binge drinking.

Binge drinking can cause serious health problems, such as alcohol poisoning and even death. In 2007-2008 more than 30,000 people were admitted to hospital in the UK for alcohol poisoning, almost 500 per week.

Binge drinking causes a rapid rise in blood alcohol concentration as alcohol is absorbed from the stomach, but the liver can only metabolise one unit of alcohol every hour.

Even if someone stops drinking - or passes out - the concentration of alcohol in the blood can rise to levels which can kill depending on the volume and strength of alcohol consumed in a short period of time.

To be minimise the risk associated with drinking alcohol, it is currently recommended that:

  • Men should drink no more than 3 - 4 units of alcohol per day
  • Women should drink no more than 2 - 3 units of alcohol per day

This article was published on Fri 9 July 2010

Image © Max Tactic -

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