In the UK there has always been a bit of a drink till you fall over attitude to alcohol. That does not apply to everyone but some groups, especially young people, loved nothing more than getting “blathered”. We Northern folk also have a bad reputation with the "demon drink".
Added to the new licensing laws, what could be seen as a lethal combination, cheap supermarket alcohol, became readily available. With a smoking ban in place Pubs and Clubs experienced a drop in trade but UK citizens began to drink more alcohol. Drinking at home became the new “Saturday Night In” for many.
Although supermarkets now try to adhere to strict age related rules kids still manage to get hold of alcohol. Sometimes it is down to the parents. Personally I have known a few underage teenagers who enjoy more than the odd lager at home via Dad.
The smoking ban has hammered a final nail into the coffin of many UK pubs. In traditional areas such as the North of England, a pint and a cigarette went together in the pub. Smokers may be happy to sit outside of the pub occasionally but the British weather is hardly conducive to that all year round.
Whether you have never smoked, are a reformed smoker like me or still smoke you know that smoking is bad news. It is a filthy habit which is expensive into the bargain. However is alcohol any better? We think not.
Too much alcohol can cause a myriad of terrible diseases. Smoking can too we know. Smoking can affect others as in passive smoking. Apart from that though it is not as harmful as alcohol can be. Don’t believe me? Ok consider these points. Too much alcohol can lead to road traffic accidents, rape, murder, divorce, suicide, assaults, fighting, a lack of personal safety, marriage breakdowns, pregnancy problems, violent assaults on family members, debt, increased criminal activity, mental and physical health problems and much, much more.
The NHS in the UK is under strict budget guidelines. It continues to struggle to keep its financial head above water. Having to treat people with alcohol related diseases puts an unnecessary pressure on the service.
You can argue that smoking damages every smokers health whilst alcohol only those who overindulge but that is debateable. After all we all know someone who has lived a long healthy life whilst being an active smoker.
As would be expected the figures vary a great deal across the country. Liverpool saw 3,114 admissions for alcohol per 100,000 people which dropped to 850 per 100,000 on the Isle of Wight in one year. The Isle of Wight would be a strange place to compare to though. As a small Island in the English Channel it has none of the urban decay that some UK cities have in abundance.
Professor Mark Bellis, said of the research findings: "Cheap alcohol is no longer a commodity that this country can afford. The scale of damage revealed by these profiles shows that alcohol is a problem for everyone in England. Even those families not directly affected by alcohol-related health problems, violence or abuse still pay towards the billions in taxes for the policing, health services and social support required to tackle this national problem."
Yes we all agree on that. Smokers now have health warnings on cig packets and very few places where they can indulge their habit. Perhaps its about time alcohol abuse was tackled in much the same way.
“Existing data shows there were 1.1m alcohol-related admissions in England in 2009/10 - 879 more per day than five years previously“. Such staggering statistics have to be a cause for concern.
Based in Yorkshire, in the middle of the UK, almost, this blogger offers her own unique perspective on life in GB
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