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Over a third of adults exceed regular daily drinking limit
ONS News Release January 2009

Smoking and drinking among adults 2007 and Drinking: adults’ behaviour and knowledge in 2008

Smoking and drinking among adults 2007:

Over a third of adults exceeded the daily limits for regular drinking on at least one day during the week before interview despite growing awareness of safe drinking levels, annual data on smoking and drinking from the Office for National Statistics shows today.

Current advice on drinking is that men should not regularly drink more than three to four units of alcohol and women should not regularly drink more than two to three units. The General Household Survey (GHS) 2007 report shows that 37 per cent of adults exceeded the benchmark and 20 per cent of adults consumed more than double the benchmark on their heaviest drinking day of the week.

The proportion of people who exceeded the daily limits for regular drinking on at least one day during the previous week was higher for men (41 per cent) than it was for women (34 per cent). The proportion drinking heavily (more than twice the benchmark) on that day was also greater for men (24 per cent) than for women (15 per cent).

The report also shows that more people in ‘managerial and professional’ households exceeded the daily limits on their heaviest drinking day of the week (43 per cent) than those in ‘routine and manual’ households (31 per cent).

However, the GHS figures for smoking show the opposite. Smoking prevalence was highest in households classified as ‘routine and manual’, where 27 per cent of adults smoked. Prevalence was lowest among those in ‘managerial and professional’ households at 15 per cent.

Opinions (Omnibus) Survey Report No. 39 Drinking: adults’ behaviour and knowledge in 2008

Download the full report here. (pdf 485kb)

Response to the report from Professor Ian Gilmore, President of the Royal College of Physicians - here.