The UK’s Chief Medical Officers (CMO) on Friday (8 January) changed the guidelines for alcohol consumption, advising now both men and women not to drink more than 14 units per week, or three units on one occasion, in order to limit alcohol harm.
Previously, men were advised not to drink more than 21 units per week.
The health advisors want to update the guidelines for alcohol consumption as the risk of developing a range of illnesses, including mouth, throat and breast cancer, increases with the consumption on a regular basis.
They said that for those who drink 14 units per week, it is best to spread this evenly over three days or more and cutting down on alcohol works best, if the individual keeps drinks-free days each week.
“If you have one or two heavy drinking sessions, you increase your risks of death from long term illnesses and from accidents and injuries,” they said in a statement.
The CMO’s guidelines on pregnancy and drinking are also changing. Now pregnant women are advised not to drink any alcohol at all.
“If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all, to keep risks to your baby to a minimum,” the UK medical advisors said.
Earlier in 2015, the European Commission was criticised by health campaigners in Brussels for not doing enough work to prevent alcohol-related harm in the EU such as drink-driving, by not publishing a new Alcohol Strategy for the coming years after the first one expired in 2012.
However in December, the EU’s 28 health ministers urged the Commission to adopt a comprehensive EU-wide strategy by the end of 2016.