New campaign aims to break the alcohol habit
19 November 2012
People who drink alcohol every day are being asked to give their 'habit' a break for a couple of days a week, in a new campaign launched at the start of Alcohol Awareness Week (19-25 November).
Opening a bottle of wine with an evening meal or having a few cold beers from the fridge, are habits that can result in some people drinking above the recommended levels, with an increased risk from long term alcohol-related health problems.
The specific risks associated with 'habit' drinking include:
short term risks related to bouts of heavy (binge) drinking, including impaired judgement and injuries caused by drunkenness
longer-term risks associated with regular drinking, such as liver disease, some cancers and the risk of heart attack.
Across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, 65,526 people are classed as 'high risk' drinkers (4% of the adult population), with a further 297,282 classified as 'increasing risk' drinkers (20%).
It is estimated this costs the NHS in Southampton, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth around £111 million per year. According to a Public Accounts Committee report, across England 78.34% of the cost of alcohol harm to the NHS is spent on acute hospitals; 13.77% on ambulances; and the remainder split between GPs, prescribed drugs and specialist services.
Dr Ruth Milton, Hampshire's Director of Public Health, said:
"Alcohol is a complex issue with a range of risks for different groups of people, for example pregnant women, older people and young people.
"It makes good sense to look for a simple message and useful tools to help people with how much and how often they drink. The Government's Science and Technology Committee has said Scotland's example of recommending two alcohol-free days a week is good sensible health advice, and we've adopted this message as our focus for this year's Alcohol Awareness Week campaign.
"Of course, there's nothing wrong with enjoying a few glasses of wine or beer some days - but not every day. Drinking at this level every day increases the risk of it developing into a longer-term health problem."
The campaign's 'Give me a break' message will be highlighted on radio, buses, websites, posters and leaflets across Hampshire.