North East alcohol campaigners welcome '˜very important' drinking findings

A new study on the dangers of drinking too much has been welcomed as 'very important.'
Colin Shevills of Balance.Colin Shevills of Balance.
Colin Shevills of Balance.

North East campaigners at Balance say it is “high time” the alcohol industry did more to raise awareness of the risks surrounding drinking more than the recommended guidelines.

It comes after a comprehensive new study of 600,000 drinkers which was published in the Lancet Medical Journal. It shows that drinking above the Chief Medical Officers’ low risk weekly drinking guidelines increases the risk of fatal heart diseases.

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Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, said: “Today’s study in the Lancet Medical Journal is a very important and detailed report which provides clear evidence that regularly drinking above the Chief Medical Officer’s recommended maximum weekly guidelines of 14 units is likely to shorten a person’s lifespan.

“Alcohol can have serious consequences for our health, including an increased risk of heart failure, stroke and fatal aneurysms. We have all heard the claims that red wine is good for the heart but this study shows that any benefits of drinking apply only to non-fatal heart disease and are cancelled out if we drink above the low risk guidelines.”

Mr Shevills added: “The robust evidence in the study shows that there is an increased risk of death if we drink above around 12.5 units a week – the equivalent of around five standard glasses of wine or five pints of beer.

“Many people are unaware of the risks associated with alcohol consumption and our health, even at relatively low levels. This is particularly worrying when we know over one in four drinkers in our region are drinking above the low risk CMO guidelines.

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“When the CMO guidelines were introduced two years ago they came under attack by sections of the alcohol industry.”

But Mr Shevills added: “Even now, over two years since they were introduced, very few alcohol labels carry the low risk guidelines.

“We all have a right to information about what we are consuming and in fact 83% of people in the North East are supportive of health warning labels on alcohol products. It’s high time the industry started listening.”