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11 January 2016

Updated alcohol consumption guidelines give new advice on limits for men and pregnant women

Alcohol

New guidelines for alcohol consumption, produced by the UK Chief Medical Officers, warn that drinking any level of alcohol increases the risk of a range of cancers.

In brief they state that:

  • There should be a single guideline for men and women: This will now be 14 units a week for both men and women

  • There is an additional recommendation not to ‘save up’ 14 units for one or two days - but instead to spread them over 3 or more days

  • A ‘protective effect’ is less significant than it was - i.e. - one or two glasses of red wine does not prevent you from getting heart disease, as is often reported

  • The previous line about ‘If pregnant women choose to drink they should limit their drinking to one or two units once or twice a week’ has been removed to remove the current ambiguity around drinking in pregnancy

  • The new guidelines also present new evidence about the clear links between alcohol consumption and cancer

Cllr Ian Stewart, the county council’s Cabinet member for Public Health, said:

“I am encouraged by the Chief Medical Officers report. This new report will help to increase protection and make the public more aware about the risks associated with alcohol consumption.

“There will be those who choose to ignore this information, however at least now it is available to all instead of the few who had chosen to look in to it.”

Colin Cox, Cumbria County Council’s Director of Public Health, said:

“This report clearly shows the harm that can be caused by drinking too much. We should all keep an eye on our relationship with alcohol.

“It can be easy to slip into the habit of drinking too much, too regularly and the health impacts of this might not become clear for many years.

“For people who are having a problem with their drinking, help is available through GPs and the Unity service that is commissioned by the council.”

The council leads on a number of initiatives aimed at tackling alcohol related harm in Cumbria. These range from intensive interventions like Unity, early interventions like the Assertive Alcohol Outreach Service and prevention such as the work we do through our marketing campaigns.

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New guidelines for alcohol consumption, produced by the UK Chief Medical Officers, warn that drinking any level of alcohol increases the risk of a range of cancers.