New alcohol guidelines proposed by UK Chief Medical Officers

New alcohol guidelines proposed by UK Chief Medical Officers
08/01/2016 - 09:53
The UK Chief Medical Officers have released a new set of alcohol guidelines, which recommends a weekly, rather than a daily, guideline on regular drinking and suggests men and women drink the same amount of units in a week.

The new guidelines, which are the first since 1995, recommend it is safest not to drink more than 14 units per week to keep health risks from drinking alcohol to a low level. It also states that one or two heavy drinking sessions can increase the risk of death from long term illnesses.

Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England, said: “What we are aiming to do with these guidelines is give the public the latest and most up to date scientific information so that they can make informed decisions about their own drinking and the level of risk they are prepared to take.”

The guidelines are supported by a new review from the Committee on Carcinogenicity (CoC) on alcohol and cancer risk. It finds that even drinking a small amount of alcohol increases the risk of some cancers compared with people who do not drink at all. 

However, the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has responded by suggesting the new guidelines are not reliable due to the lack of agreement over the subject amongst health experts.

ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls, said: “The guidelines draw a link between alcohol intake and associated health risks, but go on to say that regular drinking levels increase the chance of dying from an alcohol-related condition by just 1%.

“By the Government’s own admission, drinking at regular levels is no more dangerous than a host of everyday activities. What is being lost here is the fact that low levels of drinking remain very low risk.
“What consumers need is clear, practical advice based on undisputed evidence to allow customers to make informed choices. There seems to be little agreement, even among health experts, about the evidence to back up the latest proposals.
“It is worth remembering that levels of alcohol consumption have been falling steadily and are at their lowest this century. Much of the work of the licensed hospitality sector in recent years has been focused on providing consumers with greater choice and our venues remain committed to promoting healthy, responsible drinking practices in a supervised environment.
“The ALMR will be responding to the Government’s consultation to push for clear and concise, information that is practical, evidence-based and which we feel is robust and reliable.”

Read the full report here.

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