I don’t hold out much hope for Drink Free Days, a new campaign launched by Public Health England and the alcohol industry to persuade people to abstain for two consecutive days a week. That was also the recommendation of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee in 2012, as well as the advice of England’s Chief Medical Officer in 2016, but it doesn’t seem to have had much impact. According to a recent YouGov poll, more than 20 per cent of UK adults ignore the government’s drinking guidelines and are consuming more than 14 units a week.
That may be an underestimate. A recent study published in the Lancet, which looked at alcohol use and its health effects in 195 countries, found that British men and women consume, on average, three drinks a day. Even if we assume that one drink equals one unit — which is unlikely, given that a glass of wine or a pint of beer contains two units — that still means the average Brit is drinking at least 21 units a week. It’s a safe bet that they aren’t taking a day off every week, either, let alone 48 hours. Two thirds of the respondents in the YouGov poll said they would find it harder to cut down on their drinking than if they tried to exercise more or reduce their smoking.
That would have been my reaction, too. (To read more, click here.)