Bath & North East Somerset Council is supporting Alcohol Concern’s Alcohol Awareness Week by encouraging people to reduce the amount of alcohol they drink each week.
It comes as a survey by Public Health England found that men in Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES) are drinking substantially more than the Chief Medical Officer’s recommended guidelines of no more than 14 units per week. New research shows the average number of units of alcohol consumed a week by men in B&NES is 20.9 units.
The research also found that significantly fewer people in B&NES abstain from drinking and there are more increasing or high risk drinkers in B&NES compared to national levels. 28% of B&NES respondents self-reported as increasing or high risk drinkers, compared to the survey average of 25%.
In support of Alcohol Concern’s Alcohol Awareness Week 2016, which runs from 14th to 20th November 2016, Dr Bruce Laurence, Director of Public Health for Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “We are supporting Alcohol Concern’s Alcohol Awareness Week to highlight just how dangerous drinking too much can be. We want people to enjoy having a drink but to think about the impact on their health.
“Most people are aware that drinking excessively is bad for your health but few people are aware of the link between alcohol and cancer. The more you drink the greater the risk of developing mouth, throat, voice box and oesophagus cancer. Consistent heavy drinking will significantly increase your risk of developing colorectal and liver cancer too.”
The Chief Medical Officer’s new guidance on low risk drinking has lowered the recommended weekly limit for men to 14 units, the same as women, because up to date research shows that at this level the risks to health are the same for men, as for women.
In B&NES there are more alcohol related hospital admissions amongst men and more men in treatment for alcohol misuse than women. Reducing the average weekly consumption of alcohol amongst men could lower their chances of injuries or accidents and longer term reduce their chances of developing high blood pressure, diabetes, liver disease and cancer.
Councillor Vic Pritchard (Conservative, Chew Valley South), Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, said: “We know that when people abstain from drinking, even for short periods of time, their health improves, they feel better, they may lose weight, sleep better and save money, so there are many benefits. We hope that by raising awareness of alcohol-related health problems people will be encouraged to stay within the guidelines in the run up to the festive season and consider taking part in Dry January in the New Year.”