NHS Forth Valley Backs National Drive To Help Make Drinkers Unit Aware

NHS Forth Valley is encouraging people to ‘Count 14’, as research shows wine, beer and spirits drinkers remain largely unsure of how many drinks make up the recommended weekly alcohol unit guideline of 14.

People who have looked to reduce their alcohol intake in January are being urged to Count 14 in February, and beyond, to keep the risk from alcohol low – with the campaign providing an easy guide to what 14 units actually looks like for a range of different alcoholic drinks.

Only 15 per cent of beer, lager and cider drinkers in Scotland were able to correctly identify that six pints equals 14 units, with 16 per cent of wine drinkers knowing 14 units equated to six medium glasses of wine.

Almost a quarter (24 per cent) of those who drink spirits regularly knew seven double measures added up to the recommended maximum unit guideline.

Of those who drink wine, beer, or spirits, many simply answered ‘don’t know’ when asked how many of each drink made up 14 units (17 per cent, 13 per cent and 28 per cent respectively).

The Scottish Government’s Count 14 campaign, backed by NHS Forth Valley, aims to help people understand how their weekly drinking adds up.

Kat Jarvie, NHS Forth Valley Senior Health Promotion Officer, said: “People are often confused about how many units of alcohol a drink contains and how different types and measures compare. The Count 14 campaign provides very clear information about how many units are in a drink which makes it easier for people to keep track of their consumption. It also supports individuals to reduce the health risks by spreading their drinking over three days, rather than saving up units for one day.”

Figures released last year highlighted that in 2018, Scots bought enough alcohol for every adult to drink 19 units of alcohol per week, meaning that, on average, every adult in Scotland is drinking 36 per cent more than the lower risk guidelines.

Scotland’s Alcohol Framework 2018: Preventing Harm was launched in November 2018 which set out the Scottish Government’s national prevention aims on alcohol.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood said: “The alcohol guidelines are based on the clear evidence that as alcohol use increases, so does the risk of a range of health harms. To keep these risks low it’s recommended that men and women don’t drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis.

“The 14 unit guideline equates to six pints of medium strength beer, lager or cider; six medium glasses of wine or seven double measures of spirits over the course of a week.

“By increasing understanding of what this means in terms of actual alcoholic drinks, our hope is that adults in Scotland are able to make more informed choices.”

For further information on the guidelines visit www.count14.scot.

For further information contact Linda McIntyre / Daisy Bartlett at Smarts on 0141 222 2040