Campaign warns of drinking 'little too much' alcohol

Woman being poured a glass of wine The campaign warns it is easy for one glass of wine at the end of the day to turn into two or three

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Drinking "just a little more than they should" puts people at risk of serious illness including heart disease, stroke and cancer, the government is warning.

A TV advertising campaign is being launched to press home the message.

It warns regularly drinking two large glasses of wine or two strong pints of beer a day triples mouth cancer risk and doubles high blood pressure risk.

People "should not regularly exceed" the daily limit of three to four units for men and two to three for women.

In addition to the Change4Life campaign, the government released details of a poll of 2,100 people looking at what was known about the risks linked to drinking too much.

Among the findings, the poll revealed 85% of those questioned did not realise it increases the risk of developing breast cancer.

In addition, 66% did not know it increases bowel cancer risk, 59% did not know about the raised risk of mouth, throat and neck cancer and 37% did not realise it reduces fertility.

The campaign also has a website and leaflets offering tips on how to drink less - such as having booze-free days or just using smaller glasses.

'In moderation'

Chief Medical Officer for England Prof Dame Sally Davis said: "Drinking too much is a major public health issue.

Start Quote

Telling people they could be drinking too much can't be our only solution to the country's alcohol problem”

End Quote Emily Robinson, Alcohol Concern

"This campaign highlights how easy it can be to use a glass of wine or beer to unwind at the end of a busy day but these drinks stack up and can increase your risk of high blood pressure, cancer or liver disease."

Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said: "An estimated 10 million Britons drink more than the recommended limits for alcohol, which puts one in five of us at increased risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and weight gain.

"There's absolutely no reason why we can't all enjoy our favourite tipple in moderation, but don't underestimate the health risks when one glass becomes two or three on a regular basis."

And Sarah Lyness, of Cancer Research UK, said: "Alcohol can increase the risk of seven types of cancer, including two of the commonest kinds - breast and bowel cancers.

"And a recent study showed that nearly 12,500 cancers in the UK each year are caused by alcohol.

"The risk of cancer starts to go up even at quite low levels of drinking, but the more people cut back on alcohol, the more they can reduce the risk."

Emily Robinson, of Alcohol Concern, welcomed the campaign.

But she added: "Telling people they could be drinking too much can't be our only solution to the country's alcohol problem.

"We also need to see minimum alcohol pricing brought in as soon as possible, as well as making sure high quality services are available for people who may have developed a serious alcohol problem."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 187.

    Back off on these studies and the correponding warnings, we all know smoking is bad but the government goes overboard in it's reaction and if the anti-drink 'greenies' influence them, then we will have an unacceptable amount of additional laws like the anti-smoking laws that have resulted in us being bombarded with on-line bingo adverts and mountains of fag ends outside pub doorways.

  • rate this

    Comment number 186.

    22. Baron Brick
    1 Hour ago

    "Isn't it common knowledge that 'excess' of anything is bad for you?"

    No, that is the common misconception. Whilst it is correct that water can kill there remains, to date, no evidence that excessive quantities of salad, fruit and vegetables cause any harm whatsoever. Alcohol is a harmful drug, whereas water and vegetables are essential for good health.

  • rate this

    Comment number 185.

    When will people start being responsible for their own actions? If you are addicted to something it is your fault. Why should the sensible majority pay?"

    What majority? *Everyone* does/takes something that is 'irresponsible', be it hang-gliding, driving too fast or having a drink or smoke. No one, but no one, is perfect in every way.

  • rate this

    Comment number 184.

    Yet another useless survey telling us the blatantly obvious. Instead of putting health warnings on booze & ciggies how about showing us exactly how much tax we are paying on these items. That should stop binge drinking

  • rate this

    Comment number 183.

    All the health and social problems associated with Alcohol yet it is legal, whilst other far less harmful drugs, such as Cannabis and Magic Mushrooms, remain illegal! What a crazy world we live in.

  • rate this

    Comment number 182.

    I'm Doomed :(

  • rate this

    Comment number 181.

    If people would stop talking in units and refer instead to pints, litres or whatever, consumers might have a better understanding of the sensible limits.

    It won't stop the majority of seasoned drinkers, though, who have no regard for their long-term health or the fact that their booze is funded by over-generous state benefits.

  • rate this

    Comment number 180.

    I know plenty of people whose binge-drinking is outside recommended limits. If you bring this up, they say in astonishment, "But of course I can't be drinking too much - it's far less than I drank when I was a student!" The myth is that you can't have an alcohol problem unless you drink daily. For such people, and their number is not small, this would be a sensible campaign.

  • rate this

    Comment number 179.

    We will all end up in hospital dying of nothing

  • rate this

    Comment number 178.

    Many are missing the point. The campaign isn't about people getting drunk and obnoxious. It's about people having two pints rather than three halves, despite the extra risk to themselves in doing such being so limited as to be meaningless.

  • rate this

    Comment number 177.

    I saw Stephen Fry on QI say that as one drinks a bit then life expectancy goes up, but as one drinks more it starts to fall again, and that the life expectancy for people drinking a bottle of wine a day is the same as a teetotaller.

    I remember having come across that before QI.

    The nannies take a running jump as far as I am concerned.

    Got to die of something, not going to worry myself to death

  • rate this

    Comment number 176.

    When will people start being responsible for their own actions? If you are addicted to something it is your fault. Why should the sensible majority pay?

  • rate this

    Comment number 175.

    There is too much of this shroud waving. We are all going to die of something sometime. Dealing with a totally senile mother I know that a long life is not everything.

    There has to be a balance to anything we do. Minimum pricing is unfair to moderate users. We used to manage drinking in the Uk through a licensing system. It worked well until we changed it.

    How about banning silly legislation?

  • rate this

    Comment number 174.

    Baron Brick's comment on water intoxication is interesting because it was this that actually killed Leah Betts not Ecstasy. The media rarely report the 150+ deaths a year from alcohol poisoning alone. Addiction is not fussy about which social group you come from. We need better mental health services to deal with all addictions and a more responsible society. Junkie = alcoholic. Cheers

  • rate this

    Comment number 173.

    There is just too much Nannying going on.

    It's about time that adults are treated as adults.

  • rate this

    Comment number 172.

    ...And if you do exactly as they say you'll live forever!

  • rate this

    Comment number 171.

    Never mind whether drinkers get this-or-that illness.

    How long, on average do they live before getting it?

    How does that compare with non-drinkers?

    Well? Come on, how?

  • rate this

    Comment number 170.

    When is someone going to come up with the correct advise on drink. first we are told drinking small amounts is good for, then we are told even small amounts (two drinks a day) could cause harm. the main problem is drinks companies will pay for a survey that will give the results they want and the medical people will get a poll that gives different results.

  • rate this

    Comment number 169.

    I know, lets make it illegal!

    Its a disgusting filthy habit anyway and those who use this particular drug are no better than heroin addicts.

    NO!?! No one want to ban it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 168.

    It could be the govt are softening us up for increased taxation on alcohol. For the same reason they encourage hysteria about NHS & education - it excuses the lacerating cuts they plan to provision.

    Taxing booze won't affect wealthy boozers, our millionaire cabinet members won't really be affected and they'll have more to squander on their Iran war.


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