How we drink, what we think (2018)

Alcohol continues to be an accepted part of everyday life in the UK, despite being one of the three biggest lifestyle risk factors for disease and death. This report, which is based on a survey carried out by the AHA, gives some insights into what people think about alcohol, how aware they are about the risks associated with alcohol, and what they would like to be done to address the harms caused by alcohol.

The report shows that awareness of the low-risk drinking guidelines and health risks connected to alcohol remains low: 4 in 5 people do not know that the recommended low-risk guideline is not to drink more than 14 units a week. While awareness of the link between alcohol and cancer has increased compared to previous years, the large majority of the public still do not link cancer and alcohol spontaneously.

The data also shows that the majority of the public want the UK Government to do more to address the harms caused by alcohol to society, such as ill health, violent crime, domestic abuse and anti-social behaviour. Only 3% think the government is doing too much. There is support among the public across political affiliations for a range of policy measures to reduce alcohol harm, including:

  • policies to decrease the affordability of alcohol, such as minimum unit pricing and, in some circumstances, alcohol tax increases;
  • regulations for more and better information on alcohol product labels; and
  • greater alcohol advertising restrictions to protect children, such as a ban on alcohol TV advertising from 6am-11pm.
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