Southampton: Alcohol Will Kill 250,000 In UK Over Next 20 Years: Health Experts: UPDATED

21 Feb

Health experts say up to 250,000 extra lives could be lost in the next 20 years unless tough restrictions on the drinks industry are introduced.

Drink deaths warning Enlarge photo
 
Government plans, which include banning the sale of alcohol below cost price and increasing duty on high-strength beer, are being labelled “inconsequential”.

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, past president of the Royal College of Physicians, has also called for urgent action to prevent future deaths.

Writing in the Lancet he said: “We already know from the international evidence that the main ways to reduce alcohol consumption are to increase the price and reduce the availability of alcohol, yet the Government continues to discuss implementing marginal measures while ignoring this evidence.”

Prof Gilmore wrote the article with Nick Sheron, from the University of Southampton, and Chris Hawkey, of the Queen’s Medical Centre, University Hospital, Nottingham.

“Just as the Government would expect us to treat our patients with effective medicines, we expect the Government to take much stronger action to protect people from alcohol-related harm, when will that happen?”, Professor Gilmore added.

The authors said UK drinks producers and retailers are “reliant on people risking their health to provide profits” and noted that, according to the Department of Health, three-quarters of alcohol is consumed by hazardous and harmful drinkers.

“We urgently need an integrated approach to alcohol care services across primary and secondary care combined with a joined-up strategy which comprises a less affordable minimum unit price, targeted fiscal measures and independent regulation of alcohol advertising and promotion.”

The liver death rate in the UK is 11.4 per 100,000 people, which is more than double that of other countries with similar drinking cultures, such as Australia, Holland, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden.

UPDATE: ADDITION:

Sales of ale – traditionally favoured by older drinkers – are soaring among younger men and women, according to a retailer.

Younger drinkers ‘turning to ale’ Enlarge photo

Bottled ales are now favoured over lager by six out of 10 men aged between 21 and 34 while a quarter of women prefer a glass of ale over wine or traditional spirit and mixer combinations, the survey for Asda found.

Sales of premium bottled ales are up 22% among shoppers in their 20s and early 30s, the supermarket chain said.

The south east is leading the trend, as is Yorkshire, and sales of ales among pre-family shoppers in general are up by 26% since last year.

More than a third of those preferring ale said they discovered the beer in the local pub while a quarter said it was down to attending beer festivals.

Dewi Williams, from Asda’s beers, wines and spirits team, said: “We’re thrilled that our younger customers are migrating towards ales and bitter.

“In recent years ale has had an old-fashioned tag unfairly attached to it when in reality it is a rich, often fruity and refreshing tipple well-suited to younger taste buds.”

Asda surveyed 18,000 shoppers for its Pulse of the Nation study in early February.

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