Health campaigner calls for supermarket booze ban

20 February, 2008

Supermarkets should be banned from selling alcohol, says a government health adviser.

The chairman of Health England, Professor Julian le Grand, said customers should not be “lured” into buying alcohol during their weekly shop, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph.

Le Grand said he was in favour of separate alcohol outlets. “I would probably ban supermarkets from selling alcohol altogether,” he said.

The idea was dismissed as “crazy” and "absurd" by trade bodies.

A British Retail Consortium spokesman said: “The idea that you would be encouraging responsible consumption by preventing supermarkets selling alcohol is plain wrong. They are the most responsible retailers of all and they are leading the way in encouraging consumers to drink responsibly through initiatives like Challenge 21.”

The Wine & Spirit Trade Association's spokesman, Gavin Partington added: "We don't accept that people buy alcohol accidentally. The fact is that most people who buy alcohol in supermarkets do so as part of their weekly shop and they make a conscious decision to do so.

"The idea that supermarkets should be prevented from offering a full range of products is absurd."

This week has also seen doctors in the Republic of Ireland call for a ban on drinks sales in supermarkets, small shops and petrol stations.

The Irish Medical Organisation said licences allowing the sale of alcohol in these shops should be phased out as ­voluntary codes do not work.

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