The role of alcohol price in young adult drinking cultures in Scotland

Pete Seaman, Fiona Edgar, Theresa Ikegwuonu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) is one of the Scottish Government's key policy options to reduce alcohol consumption and related harm. Although strongly evidenced for efficacy in reducing headline population level consumption, efficacy in changing the role of alcohol in Scottish culture is unknown. Questions remain as to how MUP will play across population subgroups with different sensitivities to price. In this paper we explore the views of the young adult population and situate the influence of price paid for alcohol alongside broader cultural drivers of consumption. Qualitative data from two studies investigating the role of alcohol in the transition to adulthood from 130 participants (aged 16-30) are analysed to situate the influence of price paid in shaping drinking styles and practices. Findings highlight how considerations of price paid for alcohol compete with non-financial considerations associated with choosing to drink excessively, moderately or not at all. Two broad categories of response to potential price increases were anticipated by drinkers which indicate that young adults are not a homogenous group in relation to price sensitivity. These differences highlight the potential for variation in subgroup responses to a pricing policy conceived to be effective at a population level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-285
Number of pages8
JournalDrugs: Education, Prevention and Policy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


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