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

24 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. 
How Brits are shunning cigarettes and alcohol in favour of clean living

The total spent by UK families on booze, tobacco and recreational drugs plunges Spending on cigarettes and alcohol has nearly halved in 15 years. New research shows more and more Brits are turning the UK into a more clean-living nation. The total spent by UK families on booze, tobacco and recreational drugs plunged to the lowest level since records began, reports the Times. A typical household forked out just £11.40 a week on the vices last year, compared to almost £20 in 2001-02, the Office for National Statistics said. The findings clearly show Brits are spurning unhealthy habits in favour of quality leisure time, with families shelling out nearly four times more on restaurant meals and hotel breaks than they do on cigs and drinking. […]
Source: Birmingham Mail, 18 February 2017

Top students more likely to smoke pot, drink alcohol, study says

British teens with the highest test scores are less likely to smoke cigarettes yet more likely to drink alcohol and smoke pot compared with teens with lower scores, according to a study published Wednesday in the British Medical Journal Open. Although some people believe smart students simply have a tendency to experiment, James Williams and Gareth Hagger-Johnson, co-authors of the new study, say these patterns of substance use may continue into adulthood. "Our research provides evidence against the theory that these teens give up as they grow up," said the authors, both affiliated with University College London. […]
Source: CNN, 22 February 2017

Dramatic performance warns young people of alcohol pitfalls

MULTINATIONAL alcohol giant Diageo is more well known for trying to get people to drink than keep them away from booze. But this week a programme sponsored by the company has arrived in schools across Oxfordshire to warn youngsters of the potential pitfalls of a heavy session. Students at eight schools will watch a play about a group of friends who find themselves in trouble as a result of misusing alcohol. The performance, which has been backed by Banbury MP Victoria Prentis, is part of international alcohol education and awareness programme Smashed. […]
Source: The Oxford Times, 21 February 2017

Alcohol can cause more damaging effects to women than men

Listen up ladies. Women simply don't metabolize alcohol in the same way as men. It's called the telescoping effect. Several research studies have shown that some women who drink heavily can do as much damage to their bodies in four to five years as a man who has been drinking for 20 to 25 years, according to Laura Veach, Ph.D., director of screening and counseling intervention services at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. "It has something to do with the concentration of water and fat, but we're really not sure that we understand the whole picture because there is much less research on how women process alcohol," Veach said. "We do know that alcohol stays in the liver longer in women than in men, which may explain why women can experience more impairment and liver damage." […]
Source:, 21 February 2017

Women's health: the challenge

WE all need good health and wellbeing to enjoy and get the most from life. It is something that we can take for granted until we're ill. Women's health has improved over recent years and a girl born today can expect to live 81 years. Women are also less likely than men to die young from a variety of causes, have lower suicide rates and are and more likely to use health services. There are some areas however where the health and wellbeing of women are significantly worse in St Helens than the national average. Many people enjoy a drink but too much alcohol can result in significant harm. In the number of women dying as a result of alcohol harm is twice the national rate. Even drinking a bit too much over time can increase risks of being overweight, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer. [...]
Source: St Helens Star, 19 February 2017

Wetherspoon to become first UK pub chain to tell punters how many calories contained in their booze

Wetherspoon is to become the first pub chain in the country to tell punters how many calories their drinks contain. Many food chains already tell customers how many calories are in the meals they sell. But now the low-cost pub is to make sure they know just how much they are consuming when boozing too. Health bosses have long warned that alcohol is a significant factor behind rising levels of obesity. Studies have shown alcohol is often followed by overeating. Many people are also unaware of how many calories are contained in alcoholic drinks. [...]
Source:, 18 February 2017

Lloyd's alcohol ban challenges City of London's drinking culture

While in bars in the City many are complaining about the ban, others say lunchtime drinking is already a thing of the past. It’s an unseasonably warm February Friday in the City of London, and as the clock ticks towards lunchtime, the pubs and restaurants around Leadenhall Market steadily fill up with bankers, brokers, traders and lawyers. By one o’clock, the terraces outside are thronged with workers, mostly male, many in black wool coats, almost all with a pint of lager in their right hand. There are very few soft drinks to be seen. Could scenes like this really be endangered in the City? The insurance market Lloyd’s raised eyebrows this week – and provoked indignation among some of its employees – when it announced a zero-tolerance ban on alcohol during working hours. [...]
Source: The Guardian, 17 February 2017

Children of alcoholics are calling helplines to hear bedtime stories

Children as young as five are ringing a helpline to hear bedtime stories because their alcoholic parents are too intoxicated. Some of the youngsters call the counsellors at the National Association for Children of Alcoholics (Nacoa) so regularly their favourite story books are kept by the phones. According to a parliamentary group there are 2.5 million children of alcoholics in the UK. Hilary Henrqiues, the Nocoa charity’s chief executive, said on one occasion a counsellor had to help a five-year-old girl call 999 when her drug and alcohol addicted mother had locked herself in the bathroom overnight. When paramedics arrived they found the woman had died. Another of their callers, a girl aged seven, rang while hiding from her drunk parents under her bed on Christmas day. She was cold, scared and had received no presents and wanted to hear a story about her imaginary friend – a dog called Bruce. [...]
Source: Metro, 19 February 2017

Long-term daily drinking linked to stiffening of the arteries in men

"Men who drink more than a pint a day over several years are at greater risk of heart attack or stroke," The Sun reports. A UK study found men who consistently drank more than the recommended limits had signs of stiffening of the arteries, which has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Researchers used data from more than 3,000 British civil servants to examine the link. Participants reported their alcohol intake over a 20-year period. Stiffness of the arteries was also measured using a device that looks at how pressure waves move through an artery – the faster the pulse wave moves, the stiffer the arteries. […]
Source: NHS Choices, 21 February 2017


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