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 367.

    Cigareets, whisky and wild, wild women,
    they'll drive you crazy, they'll drive you insane

    Not a bad way to go, in my opinion :)

  • rate this

    Comment number 366.

    Yes, monkeypuzzletree at 252.
    We all get to the finish line one day. But if I'm offered a chance to hang around a while longer, I'll take it. Life's OK - why bugger it up? My choice. Informed choice. What's yours?

  • rate this

    Comment number 365.

    You may want to look at this by the way if you have a serious problem with alcohol. The government doesn't seem to want to promote this cure for alcoholism - they could loose too much tax if we all went teatotal...

  • rate this

    Comment number 364.

    Am I the only one tempted to Google how to make bathtub gin?

  • rate this

    Comment number 363.

    I wonder how many of the people here who protest about the nanny state are drinking too much? How do you know what is too much without research? It can't be helped if the result of that research is something you would rather not hear and rather not do anything about. I want research and I want information, then I choose.

  • rate this

    Comment number 362.

    I wonder what it was like when there were no labels on foods, when smoking was encouraged (by drs.) and brandy was medicinal. I wonder how it must have felt just to get on with it, not to be/feel judged, not to be manipulated by self-serving reports and not to feel guilty when enjoying oneself.

    I enjoy everything & I won't judge you for doing the same. :-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 361.

    So so true, anti drink campaigners and minimum pricers must be the same once a year drinkers that blight our lives on 'amateur night' otherwise known as New Years Eve.

  • Comment number 360.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 359.

    The problem with the present alcohol problems is that there has been a change from beer drinking to wine and spirits , so people's actual alcohol intake has risen. Secondly drinking was far more controlled in a tenant run Public house. We must lower the tax on Pub consumed beer and increase taxes on wine and spirits bought via the retail trade if we are to return to sensible drinking.

  • rate this

    Comment number 358.

    To Jammydodger
    According to a report published by the World Health Organization in 2004, the economic cost of alclohol consumption on the UK economy was 15.4 BILLION pounds. I think that outweighs a few stress factures don't you?

  • rate this

    Comment number 357.

    "For all of those who say "but we pay enough taxes on alcohol", alcohol actually costs £1.24 a unit by the time you include production, transport, NHS, Police & criminal justice costs."

    And the poeple in those jobs (production, police, etc) pay taxes back to the system.

    And a 40 year old drinking 10 units over a week doesn't have the same effect as a 10 year old doing it in a night.

  • rate this

    Comment number 356.

    It's a wonderful life if we don't take ourselves too seriously. Unfortunately, politicians take themselves too seriously - that causes serious issues for the rest of us.

    Back off MPs - you live very well on your £68K plus ALL your bills paid, including food, plus fully-paid and very long Parliamentary holidays.

    We have enough laws and taxes. Feeling redundant are we MPs?

  • rate this

    Comment number 355.

    @341.Ex Tory Voter

    Withdrawl isn't necessarily the same as addiction.I don't have a strong opinion either way but it can affect people even when not high. But I do think if it has medical uses it should be able to be prescribed.

    It'd be possible to get addicted to HYS ;)

    Wiki fails completely on certain issues: AGW, Jews, Racism & science with agendas.

  • rate this

    Comment number 354.

    To be honest, I've never really got this minimum price lark. I can understand that flogging 2 litres of cider for £2 is an issue, but it pretty classist - for the middle class household who spend £5-£6 a bottle on wine a day, it's not going to make a blind bit of difference.

  • rate this

    Comment number 353.

    While the risk for harmful effects is real the quantity required is likely much higher. This is due to the fact that the evidence is largely based on self-reported use of alcohol which is documented to result in under-estimation of actual use. Therfore the negative effects may come with more like 6-8 units for men and 4-6 units for women.

  • Comment number 352.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 351.

    For all of those who say "but we pay enough taxes on alcohol", alcohol actually costs £1.24 a unit by the time you include production, transport, NHS, Police & criminal justice costs. Using your argument should we tax to this level or would you prefer a £1.24 per unit minimum price? You really cannot have it both ways!

  • rate this

    Comment number 350.

    Stop now, enough is enough or is all this 'bad alcohol' stuff just a pre cursor to steep rises in tax...........!

  • rate this

    Comment number 349.

    We have recognised the dangers that motorcycling represents through enhanced testing and increasing the minimum age for their use. Perhaps, as young peope seem unable to drink sensibly, we should increase the drinking age to 21 and be done with it to stop this Friday/Saturday night binge-drinking mayhem.

  • rate this

    Comment number 348.

    Can anyone really prove that alcohol is responsible for all the ills in society apart from anecdotal evidence from the Police who want restrict or ban everything rather than police them.
    Can we have a minimum price for McDonald's, Burger king etc, I like a drink but I don' eat fast food, should I switch?
    Peoples opinion on Britain's drinking culture influenced by 'edited for effect' TV shows.


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