The UK Chief Medical Officer's New Alcohol Guidelines
CAMRA promotes responsible drinking and recognises the harmful effects of high levels of alcohol use and binge drinking. However, as an organisation, we are concerned about the UK Chief Medical Officer's (CMO) new Government guidelines for alcohol consumption.
What does the CMO suggest?
- Both men and women are safest not to drink more than 14 units per week, and it is best to spread this evenly over 3 or more days
- The risk of developing a range of illnesses increases with any amount you drink on a regular basis
- There is ‘no safe level' of alcohol consumption
We are concerned about the recommendations that the guidelines make and the process by which they were arrived at. In addition, the process has not been made clear to the public. Public health advice should be clear, transparent and impartial of any political agenda to let consumers make their own judgements.
The proposed guidelines state that there is ‘no safe level' of alcohol consumption - which ignores international scientific consensus that moderate alcohol consumption can have a protective effect on health. Despite using the same evidence base as other countries who have recently reviewed their alcohol guidelines, the proposed guidelines are much more restrictive than the international norm - this just doesn't make sense.
The Government concluded a consultation on the proposed guidelines in April 2016. CAMRA submitted a response, along with over 700 individual submissions from members.
Click here to download CAMRA's response to the Alcohol Guidelines Consultation.
CAMRA's GP survey
We surveyed GPs in 2016 and found that 60% disagree with the statement that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption, and that 63% consider that moderate alcohol consumption can be part of a healthy lifestyle.
We are supporting the new alcohol consumer organisation, Drinkers' Voice.
Drinkers' Voice seeks to bring the UK's drinkers into the debate about alcohol and health in a bid to rebut the myths spread by the anti-alcohol lobby.
You can donate to Drinkers' Voice here: www.drinkersvoice.org.uk/campaigns/donate/
Alcohol Guidelines in the press:
- Why those killjoy new alcohol rules are just plain wrong: A devastating critique by an award-winning writer on how alcohol affects our health - Tony Edwards (Daily Mail) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3394679/Why-killjoy-new-alcohol-rules-just-plain-wrong-devastating-critique-award-winning-writer-alcohol-affects-health.html
- The truth about moderate drinking has been muddied by anti-alcohol militants - Christopher Snowdon (Spectator) http://health.spectator.co.uk/the-truth-about-moderate-drinking-has-been-muddied-by-anti-alcohol-militants/
- The great alcohol cover-up: how public health hid the truth about drinking - Christopher Snowdon (Spectator) https://health.spectator.co.uk/the-great-alcohol-cover-up-how-public-health-bodies-hid-the-truth-about-drinking
- Health Chiefs attacked over ‘nanny state' alcohol guide - Laura Donnelly (Telegraph) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/12088101/Health-chiefs-attacked-over-nanny-state-alcohol-guide.html
- The new drinking guidelines are hyperbolic and puritan (Telegraph) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/telegraph-view/12087850/The-new-drinking-guidelines-are-hyperbolic-and-puritan.html
- New guidelines to drink less alcohol will ‘make no difference' to the amount we consume, admits expert who helped write them - Ben Spencer (Daily Mail) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3440967/New-guidelines-drink-alcohol-make-no-difference-consume-admits-expert-helped-write-them.html
- Killjoy new rules about how much booze is safe used ‘twisted' stats to support health crackdown - Tim Sculthorpe (Daily Mail) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3408169/Killjoy-new-rules-booze-safe-drink-FAIL-properly-inform-public-real-risks-alcohol-professors-blast.html
- The state needs to butt out of our drinking habits - Simon Jenkins (Guardian) http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jan/08/state-drinking-habits-uk-guidelines-alcohol-health
- I had alcohol-related breast cancer. Here's why I still drink - Joanna Moorhead (Guardian) http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/feb/04/drink-wine-after-alcohol-related-breast-cancer
- Inanity and incoherence on safe alcohol levels (Guardian) http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jan/14/inanity-and-incoherence-on-safe-alcohol-levels
- Killyjoy health bosses "twisted booze figures" to get support for new limits - Craig Woodhouse (The Sun) http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/6873257/Killjoy-health-bosses-twisted-booze-figures-to-get-support-for-new-drink-limits-it-is-claimed.html
- Are the UK's booze limits the world's toughest? (The Sun) http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/woman/health/health/6870411/Are-the-UKs-booze-limits-the-worlds-toughest.html
- Don't believe scientists who say all drinking is bad. Light boozing has strong benefits - Dr Jan B Hoek (Spectator) http://health.spectator.co.uk/moderate-drinkers-dont-stop-the-health-benefits-are-clear-the-cancer-risk-is-not
- Alcohol guidelines: Let's have the facts and decide for ourselves - Katy Guest (Independent) http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/alcohol-guidelines-let-s-have-the-facts-and-decide-for-ourselves-a6858416.html
- Alcohol can help your heart - so why is the CMO ignoring this? - Chris Snowdon (City AM) http://www.cityam.com/231948/alcohol-limits-dropped-the-effect-of-wine-or-beer-on-health-is-more-complicated-than-the-chief-medical-officer-would-have-us-believe
- It's time to hail the health benefits of beer - Roger Protz (Morning Advertiser) http://www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/Drinks/Beer/It-s-time-to-hail-the-health-benefits-of-beer
- Anti-drink lobbyists helped draw up new lower alcohol safety limits and stark warnings to women over wine and breast cancer - Anthony Joseph (Daily Mail) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3616014/Anti-drink-lobbyists-helped-draw-new-lower-alcohol-safety-limits-stark-warnings-women-wine-breast-cancer.html
- The truth is that alcohol can be good for you - Iain Macwhirter (The Herald, Scotland) http://www.heraldscotland.com/opinion/14525124.The_truth_is_that_alcohol_can_be_good_for_you/?ref=mmpg
- Alcohol guidelines were drawn up by anti-alcohol lobbyists - Martin Green (Off License News) http://www.offlicencenews.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/15748/Alcohol_guidelines_were_drawn_up_by_anti-alcohol_lobbyists.html
- Killjoy nannies who demonise daily tipple are the real menace to our health - Tony Edwards (Daily Mail) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-3617034/Killjoy-nannies-demonise-daily-tipple-real-menace-health.html
- Anti drink lobby drew up official safety limits - Sean O'Neill (The Times) http://www.thetimes.co.uk/past-six-days/2016-05-30/news/anti-drink-lobby-drew-up-official-safety-limits-zwz7m7db8