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RCPI welcomes UK’s reduced alcohol limits

Prof Frank Murray, President RCPI and Chair of Alcohol Health Alliance Ireland said the guidelines took into account new research about the health risks of alcohol consumption.

“In preparing the previous guidelines in 1995, the harmful effects of alcohol and cancer were underestimated, and the beneficial effect of alcohol ,if any, were exaggerated,” said Prof Murray.

“This is the first review in 20 years and much has changed in terms of what we know about the harm caused by alcohol consumption, particularly with regards to cancer and other illnesses.

“The Irish guidelines are currently being reviewed and when published will further inform the public about the health risks associated with alcohol consumption.

“The new UK guidelines reinforce the fact that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption.”

The UK’s chief medical officer’s new low-risk level is the same for both men and women. This new recommended low-risk amount is 14 UK units per week.

This is equivalent to about 11 standard drinks in Ireland which is currently the low-risk recommended amount for women. The low risk limit for men is 17 standards drinks in Ireland. A standard drink is approximately a small glass of wine, half pint of beer or a pub measure of spirits.

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