UK drinking habits must not be overlooked

Date Published

12th April 2016




Commenting on the 2014 survey on drinking habits published today (8 March) by the Office for National Statistics, Dr John Larsen, Director of Evidence and Impact for alcohol education charity Drinkaware, said:

“It is encouraging to see that more than two fifths of people did not drink alcohol in the week before the survey. But, 2.5 million people do drink more than 14 units on their heaviest drinking day. This is a cause for concern given that the new government guidelines now recommend that people do not drink more than 14 units per week. Looking more closely at the data, it is clear that there are variations between groups of people that must not be overlooked.

“While it is encouraging to see that around half (52%) of young people aged 16 – 24 did not drink any alcohol in the last week, it is still worrying to see that 17% drink more than 14 units on a single occasion. On the other hand, older drinkers aged 45-64 are less likely to drink more than 14 units in a single occasion, but are more likely to drink more often.

“The new government guidelines recommend that people do not drink more than 14 units per week and if people do choose to drink, then it’s best to spread it evenly over three days or more. To avoid alcohol related health problems, evidence suggest that even small reductions in drinking can make a big difference to your health. Having several drink-free days each week is also a good way to cut down the amount you are drinking.”

For further information and advice visit the Drinkaware website:



Ana Moreno, Media & Communications Manager: / 020 7766 9914 / 07917 135436

Notes to Editors:

Adult drinking habits in Great Britain 2014 can be found on the ONS website

Drinkaware is an independent UK-wide, alcohol education charity with the objective of positively changing public behaviour and the national drinking culture. We aim to reduce alcohol misuse and minimise harm by helping people make better choices about their drinking. We achieve this by providing impartial, evidence-based information, advice and practical resources; raising awareness of alcohol and its harms and by working collaboratively with partners (including the medical community, public health, third sector organisations, local authorities, police and the drinks industry). For further information visit