Guidelines on alcohol intake for men have been slashed by one-third in new advice issued by Britain’s chief medical officers yesterday.
Men are now being told they should drink only 14 units of alcohol per week, the same as the recommendation for women and down from the previous level of 21 units.
One unit is roughly equivalent to a small glass of wine or a small shot of spirits.
The advice, the first update of its kind in 20 years, also said people should take several days off drinking every week.
It warns that regularly drinking any amount of alcohol increases the risk of developing cancer.
Pregnant women are now being told that they should avoid drinking alcohol completely.
Previously, they were advised to limit themselves to only drink one or two units once or twice per week.
“What we are aiming to do with these guidelines is give the public the latest and most up-to-date scientific information so that they can make informed decisions about their own drinking and the level of risk they are prepared to take,” Chief Medical Officer for England Sally Davies said.
Officials said the full extent of the correlation between alcohol and cancer was not properly understood when the previous public health guidelines were issued in 1995.
Britain has a higher than average level of alcohol consumption compared with other nations, according to figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Charity group Alcohol Concern said that more than 9 million people in England drink more than the recommended daily limit out of a population of about 54 million.
There were nearly 6,500 deaths that could be linked to alcohol in England in 2012, the group said.
There is fierce debate in Britain over whether to introduce a minimum price for alcohol in a bid to get rid of the cheapest drinks and discourage alcohol abuse.
Only the government in Scotland has so far introduced legislation to impose this type of regulation.
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