Media & Press

Brits believe alcohol consumption will continue to rise

20th OCTOBER 2009

‘Brits believe alcohol consumption will continue to rise’

- new research indicates anti binge drinking campaigns and health warnings being ignored -

Nearly half the British public (49%) still believe alcohol consumption will continue to rise for at least the next 10 years, according to new research published today, despite government efforts to reduce alcohol consumption.

The YouGov research, commissioned by the British Society of Gastroenterology, shows the British public believes the government needs to take action to tackle this serious health issue. As part of the Society’s ongoing campaign regarding the health impacts of alcohol, the survey questioned nearly 2,000 people nationwide. The research comes in stark contrast to the Government’s stance as they recently appeared to back away from legislation that would curb excessive alcohol consumption.

Key findings include:

  • 64% of women and 60% of men said they believed the advertising of alcohol aimed at young people should no longer be allowed
  • 19% of young people (18-24yr) agree the current recommended limits are too low
  • Yet 59% exceed the recommended limits.
  • A majority (66%) also admitted that if they believed they had a drinking problem, they wouldn’t turn to their GP, despite this being the first line of defence for early intervention

Recent statistics from the NHS already show the possible effects as in 2007/08 there were 863,300 hospital admissions related to alcohol consumption, a massive 69% increase since 2002/03[i] hinting at potentially devastating effects.

Professor Chris Hawkey, President of The British Society of Gastroenterology states:

“This research, particularly the statistics around the younger generations is quite alarming. Whilst the research shows that 99% of the population know what the recommended limits are, what’s concerning is the fact that this seems to be flouted.

The alcohol industry spends around £800m every year on advertising, particularly targeting young children with designer drinks and ridiculous promotions and it has a lot to answer for. These results clearly show that there needs to be a radical rethink of public health policy, including possibly banning all alcohol advertising aimed at youngsters as well as introducing a minimum price for a unit of alcohol. More also needs to be done to improve early intervention for those with the most serious alcohol related problems.”

The research comes as Alcohol Concern launches Alcohol Awareness Week (19-23 Oct), aiming to raise public awareness of the scale and harm of alcohol abuse. Alcohol Concern Chief Executive Don Shenker said:

“It’s absolutely clear that the heavy marketing and promotion of alcohol, combined with low prices are encouraging young people to drink at a level our health services are struggling to cope with. This research shows that the public recognise advertising restrictions to be a legitimate route to take in order to reduce alcohol problems and it’s about time the Government listened - alcohol is a major public health problem and it’s time for action to reduce the harm it causes.”

The research follows a recent report from The British Medical Association calling for a change in alcohol regulation and prohibiting promotions including happy hours and sponsorship of music and sports events.


Notes to Editors


For further information please contact:

Richard Gardner or Surinder Kaur Gill at Quintus Communications on 0207 340 6260 / This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1959 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 11th -14th September 2009. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

About the British Society of Gastroenterology

The British Society of Gastroenterology is an organisation focused on the promotion of gastroenterology within the United Kingdom. It has over three thousand members drawn from the ranks of physicians, surgeons, pathologists, radiologists, scientists, nurses, dietitians, and others interested in the field. Founded in 1937 it has grown from a club to be a major force in British medicine.