DRINKING habits in Scotland appear to be on the decrease thanks to the introduction minimum alcohol pricing, according to new research.

Since the law was instated in May 2018, the price of booze in the country has had to be at least 50p per unit.

Now, the British Medical Journal has found that the amount purchased per person, per week has fallen by 1.2 units, which equates to the same as just over half a pint of beer or a measure of spirits.

Reductions were most notable for beer, spirits and cider.

Overall though, Scots were still buying more than 14 units a week, which is the recommended limit.

The study was carried out by looking at shopping behaviours from 2015, before the legislation came in, and after it was passed last year.

5,325 Scottish households were examined and 10,040 in Northern England to control for potential cross-border effects.

Furthermore, the survey excluded pubs, bars and restaurants, where about a quarter of drinks are purchased.

Scotland was the first country in the world to introduce the minimum price based on the strength of alcoholic drinks.

The introduction of the law was found to be followed by a reduction of 1.2 UK units in weekly shop purchases of alcohol per adult, per household.

The hike in prices was felt the greatest by those that bought large amounts of alcohol.

Wales are looking to follow suit with the rules in 2020, but neither England nor Northern Ireland have announced plans to do the same.

Scottish Public Health Minister Joe Fitzpatrick described the findings as “very encouraging”.