People in the South West will be warned that they are at risk from serious illness including heart disease, stroke and cancer if they drink just a little bit more than they should, the Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said today.
A brand new nation-wide Change4Life campaign launched on 5 February, exposes that drinking slightly over the lower-risk alcohol guidelines can seriously impact long term health.
Whilst people recovered from their weekend excesses or wound down with a glass of wine at home, new TV adverts went out for the first time.
The advert highlights that regularly drinking around two large glasses of wine or two strong pints of beer a day triples the risk of developing mouth cancer and doubles the risk of developing high blood pressure.
A shocking new survey has revealed that most people in the South West are unaware of the serious illnesses caused by drinking more than the NHS recommends. For example in the South West:
· 86 per cent of people did not realise it increases the risk of developing breast cancer;
· 63 per cent did not realise it increases the risk of bowel cancer;
· 59 per cent did not realise it increases the chance of pancreatitis;
· 62 per cent did not realise it increases the risk of mouth, throat and neck cancer;
· 26 per cent did not realise it increases the risk of high blood pressure; and
· 42 per cent did not realise it reduces fertility.
A new online calculator will be available on the Change4Life website to help people check how much they are drinking and work out whether they need to cut down. Two million leaflets will also be available for Change4Life supporters and health professionals around the country.
The campaign also offers handy hints and tips on how people can cut down – such as having booze free days, not drinking at home before people go out, swapping to low-alcohol or alcohol free drinks and simply using smaller glasses.
Secretary of State, Andrew Lansley said: “It’s crucial we support people in the South West to know about how drinking too much poses risks to their health and how they can take control of their drinking.
“It can be easy to slip into the habit of having a few extra drinks each day, especially when drinking at home. But there can be serious health risks. Don’t let drinking sneak up on you.
“That is why I am launching this campaign, to alert people that it is not just binge drinkers that damage their health. There are simple ways we can all cut down how much alcohol we drink if we need to.
“Change4Life is a fantastic, well known campaign, that has already helped a million families around the country. I want to expand it beyond eating well and moving more, so people look after themselves and really do live longer.”
Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davis said: "Drinking too much is a major public health issue. This campaign highlights how easy it can be to use a glass of wine or beer to unwind at the end of a busy day but these drinks stack up and can increase your risk of high blood pressure, cancer or liver disease.”
“The campaign with its new online calculator is available on the Change4Life website to help and encourage people to check how much they are drinking and if they find they are drinking over the guidelines, can help them cut down."