Welcome to SHAAP’s (Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems) weekly media monitoring service.

17 February 2017


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This briefing aims to provide a ‘snap shot’ of latest news on alcohol and health policy. The inclusion of an article in the briefing should not imply that SHAAP approves or condones the content.

SHAAP provides a coordinated, coherent and authoritative medical and clinical voice on the need to reduce the impact of alcohol related harm on the health and wellbeing of the people in Scotland. SHAAP was set up by the Scottish Medical Royal Colleges, through their Scottish Intercollegiate Group (SIGA) .
Nine in 10 not aware drinking red wine can increase cancer risk

Almost nine in 10 people are not aware that drinking red wine can increase a person’s chances of getting cancer, a new poll suggests. World Cancer Research Fund said that many people are not aware of the steps they could take to reduce their cancer risk. The comments come after a new survey found that 87% of British adults are unaware that drinking red wine could increase a person’s risk of cancer. Younger people were more aware of the risks with 27% of 18 to 24-year-olds identifying it as a risk factor, compared with just 6% of people over the age of 55. However, the charity found that three quarters of people are aware of the link between inherited genes and cancer, even though it accounts for less than one in 10 cases. The charity said that not drinking alcohol is one of the most important things people can do to reduce their cancer risk, alongside not smoking and being a healthy weight. […]
Source: DailyMail, 09 February 2017

 Why red wine is the best alcohol for great sex

I’ve always wanted to explain that warm, flushed feeling I get when I’ve had a glass or two of red. Sure, it’s the alcohol, but it’s different to the disorientated sensation I get when I’ve guzzled similar amounts of gin and tonics or beer. The answer is simple. Red wine increases sexual arousal in both men and women. Yes, the same stuff that can prevent us from becoming obese, lowers our risk of diabetes, prevents memory loss, helps battle depression and is good for our hearts, we now find out also turns us on. We have a group of Italian researchers to thank for kick-starting research into red wine and sex, back in 2009. So, faced with some of the best news in recent history, you’ll excuse me for not writing about ‘wines with naughty names for Valentine’s Day’, or ‘the best wines to match to Barry White’. […]
Source: Metro, 13 February 2017

Why we should re-think Scottish football's alcohol ban

It’s about time Scottish football fans were treated like adults and the majority not punished for the actions of a few, writes Andy Harrow 200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland The alcohol ban isn’t stopping people drinking before and after games; it’s just pushing them to bars and restaurants in the surrounding vicinity. I had a pint at the football last Saturday. I drank it in concourse underneath the terracing, where a craft ale festival was in full swing. People stood chatting and watching the other scores roll in on a television screen hooked to the wall. A local band played next to the makeshift bar. You’ll not be surprised to discover the game was in England rather than Scotland. FC United, the club formed by Manchester United fans disillusioned with the Glazer ownership, had organised a friendly against a similarly anti-corporate club from Salzburg and were making the most of the day. […]
Source: The Scotsman, 09 February 2017

Jockey Club restricts drink at the races to limit bad behaviour that has blighted sport

It is one of racing's biggest showpiece events, but last year was marked by scenes of urinating footballers and women flashing in a hospitality box. Now the Jockey Club is to crack down on antisocial behaviour and drunkenness at the Cheltenham Festival by restricting racegoers to buying four alcoholic drinks at at time. Horse riding chiefs have ordered every public bar to have a water point and free bottles of water will be available at the end of the day. Complimentary bars in corporate hospitality boxes will also shut earlier at next month's meeting. Ian Renton, chief executive of the four-day festival, told The Times: "Our message is enjoy yourself and have a great day out at the races but don't come here purely to drink. "It's not want we want, it's not the sort of publicity we want for the racecourse," he said. "We want to ensure all racegoers can enjoy their racegoing unhindered by people drinking irresponsibly. "We are reinforcing our standard procedures, increasing the training of staff and the briefing of managers, and ensured that every member of bar staff has watched a video on responsible drinking." [...]
Source: The Telegraph, 13 February 2017

Top earners spend £21000 on alcohol and tobacco by age 50

By the age of 50, Britain’s top quarter of earners will have spent £21,000 on alcohol and tobacco and just over £70,000 on clothing and shoes. This compares to the £14,000 and £21,000 spent by Britain’s bottom quarter of earners on the same items. This information comes from the latest Tilney report, “The Cost of Tomorrow”, which is based on the latest Family Spending Survey data from the Office for National Statistics. According to the study, by the time an average adult hits their half century, the household will have spent its first £1m, and Britain’s top quartile earners will have splashed out an average of £1.4m. With higher disposable incomes, the wealthy spend a quarter of their outgoings (£342,000) on leisure activities including entertainment, holidays and eating out — three-fifths more than an average household. […]
Source: Financial Times, 10 February 2017

UK spending less on alcohol and tobacco, more on eating out

Families in the UK are becoming more clean-living, with less money being spent on cigarettes and alcohol, but more being spent on going out to restaurants. But the Family Spending Survey from the Office for National Statistics shows little change in spending overall. In the year to the end of March 2016, families spent an average of £528.90 a week, the same as the previous year. The ONS said growth in consumer confidence had levelled off in 2015-16. The figures show that spending on alcohol and cigarettes continued to fall over the period, to £11.40 a week. At the start of the 2000s, families were typically spending nearly £20 a week on such items. […]
Source: BBC News, 16 February 2017

MPs and peers launch manifesto in support of children of alcoholic parents

Group behind initiative reveal feelings of shame and fear of own childhoods and call on ministers to tackle UK’s ‘secret scandal’ A third Labour MP has spoken of the “secrecy, shame and fear” of living with an alcoholic parent, as she urged more government action to help the children of people with alcohol problems. Caroline Flint, a former Labour minister, spoke of her “beautiful and kind” mother, Wendy, who died from pneumonia at 45 after years of alcoholism. She gave the speech at the launch of a political manifesto in support of the children of people with alcohol problems, alongside Liam Byrne, another former Labour minister, who said his father was an alcoholic. Jonathan Ashworth, a Labour shadow cabinet minister, also spoke recently to the Guardian about growing up with an alcoholic father. […]
Source: The Guardian, 15 February 2017

Japan's growing market for Scotch

Whisky makes up vast majority of food and drink exports to Japan. The value of Scottish food and drink exports to Japan has surged to almost £100 million, strongly supported by the country’s growing taste for Scotch whisky, External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop said today. Latest available export figures show the overall value of food and drink sales to Japan rose by 9% to a record £98.7 million in 2015, compared with £90.3 million in 2014 and £51.63 million in 2007. Whisky exports account for 77% of the total, with seafood 16.71% of Scotland’s current food and drink exports to Japan. Ms Hyslop highlighted the quality and provenance of authentic Scottish produce during a visit to the first ever Scottish food and drink fair at the Isetan Shinjuku Store in Tokyo, which boasts the highest sales of any department store in Japan. Ms Hyslop said: “Scotland has a fantastic larder of some of the world’s best natural produce, a flair for innovation and a longstanding reputation for producing top quality food and drink – so it is no surprise our food and drink industry is enjoying significant success in the Japanese market.[…]
Source: The Scottish Government, 15 February 2017

It's time for a flat tax on alcohol - health campaigners can drink to that

Alcohol can cause problems and there are good reasons to tax it, but Britain’s system of alcohol duty makes no sense. Rather than tax alcohol, the government taxes drinks. A unit of alcohol is taxed at 28p if it happens to be in a glass of whisky but is just 8p if it is in a pint of cider. If the cider is strong, the tax is 7p - unless it is fizzy in which case it is 34p. The tax on a unit of alcohol in a glass of wine amounts to 20p, unless the wine is sparkling, in which case it is 25p. It is an irrational and arbitrary system. The best justification for taxing alcohol is that it creates costs which have to be paid by people who drink responsibly (or not at all).  […]
Souce:, 15 February 2017

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Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems · 12 Queen Street · Edinburgh, EH2 1JQ · United Kingdom

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