Impact on alcohol purchasing of a ban on multi-buy promotions: a quasi-experimental evaluation comparing Scotland with England and Wales

Ryota Nakamura, Marc Suhrcke, Rachel Pechey, Marcello Morciano, Martin Roland, Theresa M. Marteau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


To evaluate the impact of the 2011 Scottish ban on multi-buy promotions of alcohol in retail stores.

Design and setting
Difference-in-differences analysis was used to estimate the impact of the ban on the volume of alcohol purchased by Scottish households, compared with those in England and Wales, between January 2010 and June 2012.

A total of 22,356 households in Scotland, England, and Wales.

Records of alcohol purchasing from each of four categories (beer & cider, wine, spirits, and flavoured alcoholic beverages), as well as total volume of pure alcohol purchased.

Controlling for general time trends and household heterogeneity, there was no significant effect of the multi-buy ban in Scotland on volume of alcohol purchased either for the whole population or for individual socio-economic groups. There was also no significant effect on those who were large pre-ban purchasers of alcohol. Most multi-buys were for beer and cider or for wine. The frequency of shopping trips involving beer and cider purchases increased by 9.2 % following the ban (p<0.01), while the number of products purchased on each trip decreased by 8.1% (p<0.01). For wine, however, these effects were not significant.

Banning multi-buy promotions for alcohol in Scotland did not reduce alcohol purchasing in the short term. Wider regulation of price promotion and price may be needed to achieve this.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)558–567
Issue number4
Early online date20 Nov 2013
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014

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