Camra urges new alcohol guidelines consultation as study backs moderate drinking


The Government is being urged to hold a new consultation on alcohol consumption, after a study showed that most people believe that drinking in moderation is part of a healthy lifestyle.

A survey of more than 2,000 adults revealed that over half disagreed with official health guidelines, and that they should be the same for men and women.

The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) said its research showed that the Health Department should launch a public consultation on whether guidelines on drinking were "fit for purpose".

Scientific studies have shown that moderate drinking can have a protective effect against various health problems including cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline and certain forms of cancer, said Camra.

The campaign group said the studies were ignored in alcohol guidelines.

Speaking at the start of Camra's annual Great British Beer Festival in London, chairman Colin Valentine said: "The figures show that Government advice on drinking is at odds with common sense.

"If the Government wants people to take the guidance seriously then it needs to present people with realistic and believable advice, which they can use to judge their own risk when it comes to responsible drinking.

"If the public feels, as our figures suggest, that the guidelines are not credible and lack evidence, the danger is they will increasingly just ignore them.

"There are decades of international scientific evidence showing that moderate drinking can play an important part in a healthy and happy lifestyle.

"We'd like to see that research reflected in a more grown-up approach to help adults understand the risks and benefits associated with drinking."

A Department of Health spokesman said: "The alcohol guidelines give people the latest and most up to date scientific information so that they can make an informed decision about their drinking. This was the most comprehensive look at all the evidence on alcohol in 20 years.

"The review team looked at all the studies on the protective effects of alcohol, but concluded that the protective effect was overestimated for most people."