Derbyshire health chiefs back TV advertising campaign on the impact of drinking

NEW TV adverts warning of the serious impact regularly drinking slightly over recommended guidelines can have on health have been welcomed by NHS Derbyshire County.

The advertisements, produced by the Department of Health under its ‘Change4Life’ banner, highlight that drinking just a ‘little too much’ alcohol puts people at greater risk of developing serious illnesses including heart disease, stroke and cancer.

Those who regularly drink two large glasses of wine or two strong pints of beer on a regular basis double their change of high blood pressure and triple their risk of developing mouth cancer, the adverts say.

A new survey, conducted by YouGov in December, reveals that most people are unaware of the serious illnesses caused by drinking more than the NHS recommends.

For example, 85% of people did not realise it increases the risk of developing breast cancer; 66% the risk of bowel cancer; 63% the chance of pancreatitis; 59% the risk of mouth, throat and neck cancer; 30% the risk of high blood pressure and 37% did not realise that it reduces fertility.

Steve Pintus, associate director for public health for NHS Derbyshire County, said: “Most people think it’s just binge-drinkers or the young who drink more than they should. But in fact drinking more than the recommended limit is a habit we can all fall into – and I’m sure there are many of us who enjoy regular drinking with food or at the end of the day to unwind.

“These new adverts offer a useful reality check on the massive repercussions that a regular well-meaning tipple can have on your health and well-being.”

Handy hints offered in the adverts include: having alcohol-free days, not drinking before going out, swapping to low-alcohol or alcohol free drinks and using smaller glasses.

Health bosses from NHS Derbyshire County also urged people to take heed of MPs advice, issued in January, which called for everyone to have two alcohol-free days a week.

“Recommended alcohol guidelines aren’t always that easy to follow, but avoiding alcohol for two whole days can help people’s bodies recover from heavy drinking sessions and also get them out of depending on alcohol, which can lead to long-term harm. Alcohol is a major source of calories as well,” Mr Pintus added.

Anyone who wants support and advice on their drinking habits can contact their local GP.

Government advice states that men should not regularly drink more than three to four units of alcohol a day, and women more than two to three units a day. A large 250ml glass of wine is defined as three units in the UK, as is a pint of continental lager.