Plans to ban "irresponsible" drinks promotions in pubs and clubs - such as pouring alcohol down someone's throat - have been launched for consultation.
But the proposed crackdown on "all you can drink" style promotions falls short of imposing a minimum sale price.
As well as the Home Office's mandatory code, local authorities would also have discretionary powers over some outlets.
Campaign group Alcohol Concern said the plans to tackle crime and health issues were a "step in the right direction".
Chief executive Don Shenker said: "These measures are long overdue - for too long, the industry has failed to regulate itself.
"This new code will help people make healthy choices while further protecting communities from crime."
But he said many retailers, including supermarkets, sold alcohol at irresponsibly low prices and the government should "not be afraid" to consider a minimum price.
The British Retail Consortium disagreed, saying the government was right to reject minimum alcohol pricing.
But it warned that giving local authorities power over promotions in individual stores could damage competition and cost customers more.
Director general Stephen Robertson said: "The proposed attack on shop promotions is a dangerous step.
"Allowing local authorities to single out individual stores and their customers for promotions bans would deny people access to value and could undermine local grocery-market competition.
"Multi-packs are bought as part of a customer's regular weekly shop and responsibly consumed at home over a period.
"They are not bought by young people on a night out. There is no evidence that bulk sales are linked to disorder."
Keith Vaz, chairman of the home affairs committee, has argued that a minimum price for alcohol in supermarkets is the only way to tackle binge drinking.
The code also aims to outlaw speed drinking competitions and "dentist's chairs" where alcohol is poured straight down people's throats.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said: "We do not want to stop the vast majority of people who enjoy a drink responsibly from doing so.
"But this code will crack down on the minority of businesses whose irresponsible promotions fuel the excessive drinking that can lead people into crime and disorder or to risk their own or other's safety."
THE PLANNED MANDATORY CODE
- Banning "all you can drink" promotions, speed drinking competitions and "dentist's chair" drinking where alcohol is poured straight down people's throats
- Ensuring bars, pubs and clubs offer single and double measures of spirits and a large or small glass of wine
- Requiring retailers to display information about the alcohol unit content of drinks
- Requiring supermarkets and convenience stores to display information about the health impacts of alcohol under the Food Safety Act
Source - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8048621.stm
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