210,000 people face alcohol death risk, warn doctors

Failure to reform alcohol laws could lead to 210,000 preventable deaths in England and Wales in the next 20 years, doctors have warned.

They are putting pressure on the government ahead of its “alcohol strategy” for both countries, expected in the coming months.

Writing in The Lancet, doctors said the UK was at a “potential tipping point”.

Prime Minister David Cameron has already vowed to tackle the “scandal” of drunkenness and alcohol abuse.

The projected mortality figures come from Prof Ian Gilmore, a former president of the Royal College of Physicians, Dr Nick Sheron, from the National Institute for Health Research and members of the British Society of Gastroenterology.

Their figure of 210,000 is a reduction from their previous estimate of 250,000 and represents their “worst-case scenario” of no change to alcohol policy.

“It remains entirely within the power of the UK government to prevent the worst-case scenario of preventable deaths,” they wrote.

The figures for England and Wales suggest 70,000 of the deaths could be from liver disease and the rest from accidents, violence and chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, breast cancer and cancer of the gastrointestinal tract.

‘Tipping point’

They were critical of the “responsibility deal” in England, which are voluntary agreements with the drinks industry on issues such as promotions and labelling.

This was compared to the Scottish government’s approach such as a minimum price per unit of alcohol.

The group said: “We are at a potential tipping point in the UK in taking on the shameful, preventable loss of life caused by alcohol.

“The potential prize of reversing this tragic toll of alcohol-related deaths is there for the taking.”

The Department of Health will publish its alcohol strategy for England later this year.

Selling alcohol below cost price is to be banned in England and Wales from 6 April. However, ministers are expected to go further in the forthcoming strategy, recommending a higher minimum price for drink.

The chief executive of Alcohol Concern, Eric Appleby, said: “What we have to accept is that doing nothing is no longer a responsible option for alcohol policy, and that trying to ‘nudge’ drinking culture through information and persuasion has proved to be little better than doing nothing.

“We can see from the example of other countries that drinking patterns really can change, the challenge is there for the government to start the process now through the alcohol strategy.”

Henry Ashworth, chief executive of the Portman Group, which also represents UK drinks producers, said: “It is really important that we put this report in context.

“The vast majority of people drink responsibly. Painting doomsday scenarios won’t help reduce alcohol misuse and calling for Soviet Union-style population controls cannot do anything but alienate the vast majority of people who already drink within government guidelines.

“We agree with the prime minister that strong partnerships are essential to tackle the minority who use alcohol recklessly and drinks producers are committed to supporting this approach.”

The Public Health Minister, Anne Milton, said: “As the prime minister said earlier this week, we are determined to tackle the scandal of alcohol abuse. People that misuse alcohol endanger their own lives and those of others.

“It costs the NHS £2.7bn per year and in our forthcoming alcohol strategy we will set out our plans on how to deal with the wide range of problems and harms it causes.”

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17073816

Alastair Campbell on drink: ‘I paid a heavy price’

Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s former spokesman, examines the British middle class’s troubled relationship with alcohol and his own long and complicated history with drink.

To read the headlines about Britain’s drink problem, you might think it is largely an issue of teenage binge-drinking in town centres up and down the country.

You would be very wrong. Young people drinking too much is a problem. But it is not the biggest drink problem Britain faces. The real problem comes in the form of our hidden alcoholics.

Back in my hard-drinking days I was one of them – professional, successful on the surface, with a good job, a steady relationship, a mortgage, nice holidays, lots of friends. But I was heading for a very big fall.

The Office for National Statistics tells us that the professional classes are now the most frequent drinkers in the country and that 41% of professional men drink more than the recommended daily limit of three to four units at least once a week. Women are also drinking much more than they used to, with alcoholic liver disease now split evenly between the sexes.

My own drinking reached its peak while I worked in Fleet Street in the 1980s – a time when the pub was an extension of the office.

Anne Robinson, one of my colleagues on the Daily Mirror back then, was one of the many casualties of the hard-drinking culture.

Reflecting back on the days before she too gave it up, Anne said: “It was just a sea of alcohol. If you were editing the paper, people just came in to your office to empty your drinks cabinet.”

Annie has been dry for years. I paid a heavy price for the same sort of lifestyle when my drinking, coupled with depression, triggered a mental breakdown that landed me in hospital.

It forced me to confront my drinking, and by 1986 I’d stopped and started a slow road to recovery.

Since then, even in newspapers, Britain’s boozy workplace culture has largely disappeared.

24-hour mistake?

Yet, paradoxically, more people are being treated for alcohol problems.

Recent figures show that nearly 9,000 people die each year in the UK from alcohol-related diseases. Perhaps more alarmingly, liver disease in general is the only major cause of death in Britain that is on the rise, year after year – claiming 100 lives every week – whereas mortality for all the smoking diseases is falling dramatically.

Find out more
Panorama logo
Panorama: Britain’s Hidden Alcoholics
BBC One, Monday 20 February at 20:30 GMT
Then available in the UK on the BBC iPlayer

That Britain has a problem with drink is highlighted not just by the figures, but by the fact that the government is busy devising a new strategy to address alcohol-related ill-health.

David Cameron has signalled his appetite for reform, including the possibility of minimum pricing as already being taken forward in Scotland, and tougher rules on promotion and marketing. So how did we get here?

Well, as with so much of our recent history, the answer lies in Europe. With closer ties came cheaper travel and a newly developed taste for all things European, wine included.

Then came the booze cruises to France and the birth of a seemingly unquenchable British thirst. Since 1970, our consumption of wine has gone up five-fold, according to the Beer and Pub Association. We now consume 1.6 billion bottles a year (not counting the ones we drink when we go abroad). It has gone from a middle-class luxury to an everyday part of middle-class life.

Anne Robinson and Alastair Campbell

Anne Robinson remembers a “sea of alcohol” in the newsroom

Though ultimately individuals have to take responsibility for their own relationships with alcohol, governments have to set the framework, which is why the planned new strategy is so important.

I defend virtually everything done by the government I worked for under Tony Blair. I confess however, as he and Tessa Jowell will confirm, that I was never a big fan of the laws to introduce 24-hour licensing, surely one of the factors in the troubled relationship between Brits and booze.

I had left Downing Street by the time the law came in, but it had been mooted for some time before and I never really bought the argument that Britain would suddenly become a continental-style drinking nation.

Cheap booze

I think we have always had this tendency, where there is drink, to drink it to excess. Did it make things worse? Was it a mistake?

On the one hand it is quite nice to have a sense of London and other cities being more European in their approach to drink.

But I think it is entirely possible to see a link between increased availability of alcohol and our increased consumption.

Britain is, after all, the nation of the gin epidemic – back in the 18th Century. While in 1914, the government had to bring in the Defence of the Realm Act because our own drinking was deemed a threat to our ability to defend ourselves in war. Health campaigners cite those as the first major British drinking crises. They believe we are now facing the third.

The big shift in recent times has been the rise of drinking at home, which is why the binge-drinking stereotype is neither accurate nor helpful. The issue is largely about price. Pubs charge a lot for a pint. Supermarkets don’t. It is a sad paradox that the decline in pubs has come alongside what seems to be a rise in drinking and alcohol-related problems.

In 1970, 90% of all pints were poured in a pub. Today, it is only 50% – the other half are bought much more cheaply in supermarkets and off-licences.

The government has to do its bit. But in making a film about Britain’s relationship with drink, and in meeting some of the hidden alcoholics, I met people who had each come to their own arrangement with alcohol.

For most, the answer is complete abstinence, or complete loss of control. I too said no for 13 years, but then I started having the odd drink again.

This time, I feel as though I am more in control. To be frank, it would be hard not to be.

Alcohol facts
Generic woman passed out with drink
10m people in England drink more than recommended
Daily units men: 3-4
Daily units women: 2-3
New advice is to abstain from alcohol for two days a week
Source: Drinkaware

But, having met others as they underwent rehabilitation treatment, I do wonder if I am doing the right thing. Partly I am testing myself, having one or two so I can then enjoy the satisfaction of being able to say “No”.

I also like being able to be “normal” like other social drinkers, just have the odd one and then call it a night.

I cannot say I have not drunk since first falling gently off the wagon in 1999. But I can say I have never been drunk, never had a hangover, never touched spirits and never felt the loss of control that had me hospitalised prior to my 13-year unbroken dry spell.

The psychiatrist who I see for my depression thinks that even occasional drinking on my part is a bad idea, and interestingly, in making a documentary on the subject, I did once again stop drinking altogether, not least perhaps as a result of the tour of Queen Mary’s Hospital anatomy department, where I was shown a few damaged livers.

I do feel that my own relationship with alcohol is more secure.

And while government has a role to play in setting rules and regulations on responsible drinking, on a certain level I think that our connection to alcohol is a deal that each of us has to make with ourselves. I hope this film helps some of Britain’s drinkers to do that.

Panorama: Britain’s Hidden Alcoholics, authored by Alastair Campbell, is on BBC One, Monday, 20 February at 20:30 GMT and then available in the UK on the BBC iPlayer.

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/panorama/hi/front_page/newsid_9696000/9696398.stm

Marketing Strategy (Essay Ideas – Problem)

After thoroughly searching many of the Journal websites that the University of Sunderland provides to its students for free I hit a major problem. There are no journals on a particular product line from any alcohol companies; Smirnoff is not even recognised on the Emerald site. However there are reports that I can download which are related to social responsibility and how it is affecting young people. I have downloaded many journals as I will need them for the later stages of my Marketing Strategy Essay Report.

Will have to report to my tutor and ask her if I could use the Financial Times or any other website if I am unable to collect information. Not too worried as I know I will continue investigating the internet and official reports to find a suitable product line for my essay, obviously I will not share any information on where I found those reports but I will blog my progress.


Market Strategy Updated (May 2011)

If it is difficult to find any journals then it is best a PDF is downloaded by Googling the companies name. For example Diageo always has annual reports published which illustrate the market share of each product and compares itself to its competitors.

If anymore help is needed then just leave a comment.

Marketing Strategy (Essay Ideas)

I feel I need to decide which alcohol product line I need to research and use for my assignment which is due in 11th December 2010. First week of University and already am having to worry about an assignment. Its not good when you’re the type of person who can’t sleep until you have some basic research carried out straight away. Currently I think I might go for a Bacardi product which will be easy to locate in the library journal. A large company is a obvious choice because there will be many articles about the product and any comparisons that have been made by other organisations will help me understand the current market. I see it as a problem because it means someone has researched the product and am only collecting different information to create my own report, would be nice to do a small product line but I will not be able to reference them to any articles which mean less marks.

Hopefully by the weekend I will have researched something and decided on which product I will further investigate. I will be posting throughout my investigation. Be free to leave comments on what you think throughout this research.


Finished this assignment and it was good. I suggest starting your work as early as possible when it involves any strategy/plan or report regarding Marketing. Marketing is done through thorough research and if you need to create a strategy/plan or report then you need to carry out research, research material that is accumulated over a period of time.