Alcohol consumption falls again

By Ewan Turney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Alcohol consumption, Alcoholic beverage

Alcohol consumption is falling
Alcohol consumption is falling
Alcohol consumption is falling at its fastest rate for more than 60 years, according to new figures from the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA)....

Alcohol consumption is falling at its fastest rate for more than 60 years, according to new figures from the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA).

The amount drunk fell by over 8% to 3.81 litres per head in the first half of 2009, compared to 4.15 litres in the same period of 2008.

The last time the nation's alcohol consumption fell by more than this was during 1948 when it fell by 11% over the course of the year. The amount drunk per person has now been in decline for four and a half years.

The BBPA suggests that this drop in consumption has resulted in around 20,000 fewer alcohol-related hospital admissions in 2008 and around 50,000 this year, if the same logic used for the Government sanctioned Sheffield study is used.

The figures call into question the logic of the need for a mandatory code for pubs, which could cost the industry £300m at a time when many pubs are facing closure.

"We can now test the academic theories and models, because we now have real life experience of falling total consumption," said BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds.

"As doctors keep telling us things are getting worse, these figures cast severe doubt on the claims often made that the best policies for reducing alcohol harm are those that reduce everyone's drinking.

"In reality, alcohol policies designed to reduce drinking in the whole population are misguided. Controls on the total amount we drink will not work.  

"What we need is a new debate about effective policy measures that are clearly targeted at the minority who misuse alcohol. Our industry is open to that debate and wants to be part of the solution." 

Simmonds added: "Partnerships with the police and local authority licensing authorities have to be the way forward, together with strict enforcement of existing laws.

"Equally, we need to educate the public about the effects of excessive alcohol consumption to encourage them to make better choices and thereby reduce alcohol misuse and the related harms."

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