Wealthy Scots drinkers consuming hazardous levels of alcohol

Health campaigners are urging the Government to set a target of 10% alcohol consumption reduction.
Health campaigners are urging the Government to set a target of 10% alcohol consumption reduction.
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The wealthiest Scots are drinking the most dangerous levels of alcohol, with 35 per cent of the richest households consuming hazardous amounts of drink compared to 18 per cent of the poorest households.

Revised drinking guidelines, published earlier this year by the UK’s chief medical officers, recommend consuming no more than 14 units of alcohol per week.

The Scottish Health Survey found that 46 per cent of men in the highest income bracket were drinking more than 14 units a week, while 24 per cent of women exceeded the guidelines.

This compares to 26 per cent among men and 11 per cent among women in the poorest households.

Binge drinking has decreased from 24 per cent in 2003 to 20 per cent last year, and the number of teetotal adults had risen to 16 per cent.

Alison Douglas, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, said the number of people drinking above the low-risk guidelines was “concerning”.

She said: “Regularly drinking more than 14 units per week increases the risk of many illnesses including breast, bowel and oral cancers, liver disease and mental health problems.

“We are encouraged to drink to excess by low prices, endless promotions and easy availability.

“Taking action on these issues will reduce our consumption and improve our health and wellbeing.”

Prevalence of drinking at hazardous or harmful levels, or being dependent on alcohol decreased with age from 35 per centof those aged 16-24 to just 2 per cent of those aged 75 and over.

The proportion of adults drinking above three units for women and four units for men on their heaviest drinking day fell from 41 per cent in 2003 to 36 per cent in 2015.

There are currrently around 670 hospital admissions a week in Scotland due to alcohol, while 22 people a week die from related conditions.

The Scottish Government has tried to introduce minimum unit pricing, which would provide a lower level price depending on strength, but the legislation is currently subject to a legal challenge.