Over 200,000 children in England are living with Dependent Drinkers!

New figures released today reveal that over 200,000 children in England are living with dependent drinkers who could benefit from receiving specialist alcohol treatment.

The data from Public Health England estimates that there are 600,000 dependent drinkers who would benefit from treatment, yet only just over 100,000 are currently receiving the help they need.

These figures only cover adults who are most seriously dependent on alcohol. It is currently estimated that around 1.5 million adults in England and Wales have some form of alcohol dependence, and that there are 2.5 million children living with an adult drinking at risky levels.

The PHE data is released alongside a report from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) focused on improving the life chances and job prospects of the least well-off. The Department has said it will increase access to grant funding and introduce peer mentors for those in alcohol treatment to help them get back into work.

The report comes at a time when politicians are increasingly recognising the harm cheap alcohol is doing to the most vulnerable in society. The March budget included a consultation on the introduction of a new tax band designed to increase the price of strong white cider, a product which is predominantly consumed by children and heavy drinkers.

And earlier today a report published by the House of Lords Licensing Committee following an enquiry into the operation of the 2003 Licensing Act recognised the damage being done by cheap alcohol. The report calls for the introduction of a minimum unit price (MUP) for alcohol across the UK if it is introduced in Scotland and proves to be successful. Its introduction is being stalled by legal action being taken by sections of the alcohol industry. The report also calls for an end to multi-buy deals such as three for the price of two, a measure which has proved to be successful in Scotland.

Alcohol health experts welcomed the measures announced by the DWP today and the focus on the most vulnerable and lowest paid, pointing to studies which have shown that the least well off are around five times more likely to die from alcohol-related causes than those at the top of the income bracket.

Experts also called, however, for a wider, population-level approach to improving life and employment opportunities for dependent drinkers alongside greater support for individuals.

Liver physician Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance UK (AHA), said:

“We welcome the Government’s recognition that cheap alcohol is damaging some of the most vulnerable groups in society. The revelation that 200,000 children in England are living with adults in need of specialist help is deeply worrying. We need to make sure people get the support they need once they have a problem with alcohol, for their own sakes and for the sake of their children. But people don’t set out to become dependent drinkers and we need to stop more people from reaching that stage.

“For the greatest impact, the measures announced today should be combined with
measures like minimum unit pricing of alcohol. Studies have shown that setting a minimum price for alcohol would reduce unemployment and bring substantial numbers of unemployed drinkers back into the workforce.

“The government is already taking steps to tackle alcohol dependence in this broader way, with the recent announcement that it will be consulting on increasing the tax on high- strength ciders, drinks which are known to be drunk by the most vulnerable and do disproportionate harm.

“Studies also indicate that MUP would help address health inequalities, with over 80 per cent of lives saved coming from the lowest income groups. At the same time, the measure would not increase the price of alcohol sold in pubs and clubs.”

The Public Health England figures can be found here.
The DWP report, entitled Improving Lives: helping workless families, is available here.


About the Alcohol Health Alliance UK
The Alcohol Health Alliance UK (AHA) is a group of 50 organisations including the Royal College of Physicians, Royal College of GPs, British Medical Association, Alcohol Concern and the Institute of Alcohol Studies. The AHA works together to:
– Highlight the rising levels of alcohol-related health harm
– Propose evidence-based solutions to reduce this harm
– Influence decision makers to take positive action to address the damage caused by alcohol misuse
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Motorists alerted over upcoming ban on smoking in cars | The Guardian | #smokefreecars

Seven weeks before smoking cigarettes in vehicles carrying under-18s is outlawed ~ the department of Health steps up it’s publicity campaign to warn drivers of potential fines.

Motorists and passengers in England and Wales are being warned they will soon be breaking the law if they smoke in a vehicle carrying a person under 18. From 1 October, they face fixed penalty fines of £50 – with drivers at risk of being fined twice if they have failed to stop a passenger smoking and are smoking themselves.

The Department of Health is stepping up publicity to increase awareness of the new rules seven weeks before they are introduced to prevent a surge in fines.

The chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, said: “Children breathe faster than adults so they are much more exposed to the dangers of second-hand smoke. Their airways, lungs and immune systems are still developing so are much more at risk from harm.

“We want children to grow up free from harm and we need parents to understand why smoking in vehicles is so dangerous. 80% of smoke is invisible so even if you think you are being careful you cannot see where the smoke is going.”

Jane Ellison, a health minister, said:

“Research has shown that around a third of children who are exposed to smoke in vehicles don’t feel able to ask the person to stop because they feel frightened or embarrassed. We want all children to grow up free from the burden of disease that tobacco brings.”

The government says surveys suggest about a third of children – 3 million – are exposed to smoke in vehicles. Officials also believe about 200 children a week visit GPs because of the effect of second-hand smoke in cars.

The exposure to toxins could result in diseases such as bronchitis, pneumonia, meningitis and cancer, they say.

Read More!

Alcohol’s Harm to Others in Scotland and North West England – IAS Animated Film

‘In political debates and the media, alcohol consumption is often portrayed as a problem that affects individual drinkers, with a focus on the health and social consequences of heavy and binge drinking. However, alcohol consumption can have a range of negative consequences for people other than the drinker including their families, friends, coworkers and even strangers assaulted in the street or kept up at night.

This short animated film shows the combined results of two surveys carried out in Scotland and the North West of England on the nature and scale of harms that people experience as a result of someone else’s drinking.’

The full report, produced by the Sheffield Alcohol Research Group and funded by the Institute of Alcohol Studies, can be found here. For more information please contact sarg@sheffield.ac.uk.

Parents smoking puts nearly half a million UK children into poverty!!!

1.1 million children – almost half of all children in poverty – were estimated to be living in poverty with at least one parent who smokes; and a further 400,000 would be classed as being in poverty if parental tobacco expenditure were subtracted from household income.

This is the first UK study to highlight the extent to which smoking exacerbates child poverty. The findings, published in the open access journal BMC Public Health, are based on national surveys which estimate the number of children living in poverty by household structure. In 1999, the UK government announced a target to abolish child poverty by 2020, though this target is unlikely to be met. It is therefore crucial to identify avoidable factors that contribute to and worsen child poverty.

Read more in the BMC.