CAMRA calls for consultation on alcohol guidelines: ‘Government advice is at odds with common sense’

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

CAMRA is a UK consumer organisation representing consumers on matters relating to beer and pubs. Pic: iStock/photologica
CAMRA is a UK consumer organisation representing consumers on matters relating to beer and pubs. Pic: iStock/photologica

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The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), a UK consumer organisation, is calling for a consultation on alcohol guidelines, saying that ‘government advice on drinking is at odds with common sense’.

It follows a survey which showed more than half the public disagree with official health guidelines on alcohol consumption; and 51% disagree that guidelines should be the same for men and women.

Colin Valentine, chairman of CAMRA, says he wants the government’s Department of Health to launch a new public consultation into whether alcohol guidelines are fit for purpose and evidence based.

“Government advice on drinking is at odds with common sense,” ​he said.

"If the government wants people to take the guidance seriously then it needs to present people with realistic and believable advice, which they can use to judge their own risk when it comes to responsible drinking.

"If the public feels, as our figures suggest, that the guidelines are not credible and lack evidence, the danger is they will increasingly just ignore them.”

Scientific studies 'ignored'

CAMRA adds that numerous scientific studies – which show moderate drinking can have a protective effect against health problems such as cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline and certain forms of cancer - have been ignored in the new alcohol guidelines.

CAMRA, which represents consumers on matters relating to beer and pubs, also points to an Oxford University report that says people who frequented a pub were happier, healthier and felt more integrated in their communities, compared to residents who didn’t have a local.

A survey from CAMRA in May showed the majority of GPs disagree with the Chief Medical Officers’ statement that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption.

In January, the UK Chief Medical Officers advised that men and women should not drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week (around 6 pints of average strength beer), compared to the previous guidelines of 21 units for men and 14 units for women. The guidelines also warn that ‘drinking any level of alcohol increases the risk of a range of cancers.’

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