Only 17% of Scots aware of recommended alcohol limits – research

Less then a fifth of people in Scotland are aware of the country’s recommended alcohol limits, it has emerged.

It comes as a new campaign is launched to raise awareness of the guidance which states men and women should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week.

The guidelines were revised in 2016 and suggest that those who regularly drink 14 units per week should spread it over three days or more with some alcohol-free days.

Only 17% of Scots know of the changes, according to Progressive, which also found 53% agree they do not think about the amount of alcohol they are drinking.

However 57% agreed that monitoring their consumption was important, with more than a quarter (27%) saying they are looking to try and cut down the amount they drink.

  • Six pints of medium strength beer, lager or cider (4% ABV, 568ml)
  • Six medium glasses of wine (13% ABV, 175ml)
  • Seven double measures of spirits (40% ABV, 50ml)

Scotland’s chief medical officer, Dr Catherine Calderwood, said: “The guidelines are based on scientific evidence on the short and long term impacts drinking alcohol has on health.

“Regularly exceeding the recommended maximum amount can lead to serious problems, including cancer of the mouth, throat and breast.

“If men and women limit their alcohol intake to no more than 14 units in a week, it keeps the risk of developing these conditions low.

“This important campaign has launched not only to make people aware of the guidance, but to help them understand what 14 units means in terms of what they drink, so they can make informed choices and reduce the risk of harm.”

Figures last year revealed Scots bought enough alcohol for every adult to drink nearly 20 units of alcohol per week.

Ahead of the Count 14 campaign’s launch Public Health Minister Joe Fitzpatrick lamented the country’s “troubled relationship with alcohol”.

Joe FitzPatrick
Joe Fitzpatrick spoke of Scotland’s ‘troubled relationship with alcohol’ (Malcolm Cochrane/PA)

He said: “On average, every adult in Scotland is drinking 40% more than the lower-risk guidelines of 14 units per week.

“Through the measures in the Alcohol Framework, our aim is to create a cultural shift toward a more balanced relationship with alcohol across our society.

“That needs to start with people having an understanding and awareness of what they are drinking on a weekly basis, and the impact that is having on their health.

“Sticking to the recommended maximum guidelines, and spreading drinking over three days or more, can lower the risks of harm.

“I hope as a result of increased awareness through this campaign, people start to consider how their drinking is adding up.”

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