Swanswell responds to Alcohol Guidelines Review

08 January 2016

Swanswell, a national alcohol and drug recovery charity, has welcomed new guidance on drinking alcohol issued by the Department of Health today. For the first time the guidelines make it clear that even light to moderate drinking carries a risk.

The new guidelines advise men and women to drink no more than 14 units a week, equivalent to six pints of beer or seven glasses of wine, with a couple of drink free days each week. It also advises pregnant women not to drink at all. The advice replaces the previous daily limit of 3-4 units of alcohol for men and 2-3 for women.

It’s the first full review of the guidelines since 1995 and has been prompted by growing evidence of the harm even light drinking can cause. Alcohol has been linked to an increased risk of developing a range of cancers including breast, mouth and throat, and is increasingly a major cause of ill health in the UK.

There’s even an increased risk of developing dementia through regular alcohol consumption and it’s thought that one in ten of the UK’s 800,000 dementia sufferers could actually have alcohol dementia.

Alcohol costs the country over £21 billion a year to manage and over the last decade alcohol-related hospital admissions have more than doubled to over a million each year – equivalent to the population of Birmingham.

Responding to the new guidelines Swanswell’s Chief Executive Debbie Bannigan said; ‘Although we’re concerned that many people still don’t understand the alcohol unit system these new guidelines are a step in the right direction. They recognise the harm that even light to moderate drinking can cause and may help more people to make informed choices about their own drinking. With growing evidence linking alcohol to a range of illnesses we all need to think again about the harm caused by alcohol. It isn’t something that can be tackled solely by the government or any one body, we all have our part to play.’

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