Selected media stories since the September roundup:
Health & research in the news
'Women have caught up with men' in alcohol consumption levels, headlines reported across the media. According to international research the gap between men and women is closing rapidly when it comes to use and alcohol-related harms, though in the UK men still drink more. See NHS behind the headlines analysis or BBC, The Sun and Guardian reports.
Death rates from liver cancer in Scotland have increased by 52% in the last 10 years. An NHS Health Scotland report says "Survival from liver cancer is poor in most cases. The main risk factors for liver cancer are alcohol and infection with hepatitis B and C". A Cancer Research UK spokesperson said four in 10 cancers could be prevented by cutting down on alcohol and other lifestyle improvements - BBC news.
Meanwhile Scotland's Alcoholic Liver Disease rates were explored in a Conversation article, warning of the continuing upward trend. The latest figures show 3,788 hospitalisations each year, but explaining why Scots drink more than most other countries is complex, though more could be done around prevention say the authors.
More calories are consumed from alcohol than sugary drinks amongst adults, according to Euromonitor International research. As such 'tackling Britain’s drink problem could be more important for health than targeting sugar consumption' the Guardian reported. In the UK, adults are consuming more than 106 calories per head every day from alcoholic drinks, compared with 98 from sugar-sweetened drinks. Professor Sir Ian Gilmore said it was time to end the exemption of calorie labelling on alcoholic drinks above 1.2% ABV.
In an IAS guest blog on alcohol and obesity, Vanessa Hebditch says the current Government is reluctant to implement effective policy interventions for either, and that the 'current reliance on voluntary action by the food and alcohol industry has not worked.'
Alcohol problems are closely associated with insomnia, but CBT and medication treatments may offer help for those with sleep problems and a history of alcohol dependence, reports Science Daily.
Cutting down 'tips' & personal accounts
A feature on how to cut down - Six ways to crack wine o'clock and go semi-sober - offered help to Telegraph readers concerned about the toll of daily consumption of 'Aldi £5.99 specials'. Practical tips such as avoiding having alcohol in the house or choosing smaller measures feature, as well as the 'HALT' test - ask yourself, am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired before reaching for the bottle.
The upsides - and challenges - of adopting a non-drinking lifestyle were explored in a popular Guardian account 'I stopped drinking alcohol and discovered Sunday brunch'. The author explains, "I like myself sober. I like having a clear head and I like going out to live gigs, salsa nights and hip-hop events. And I’m not alone... So why do I feel the need to reassure people that I’m not some sort of social reject?".
Phil Collins is 'back from the brink' after alcohol problems, covered by a range of media reports - BBC here. The singer's new autobiography, Not Dead Yet, details his past alcohol problems. After three years of sobriety, Collins says he's "quite capable of having two or three glasses", and blamed his past problems on the "gaping void" of divorce and an empty calendar. A Telegraph article, Phil Collins and the rise of mid-lifers drinking their way to oblivion, further details how his alcohol problems came about, which are symptomatic of alcohol problems amongst the 'baby boomers' according to Dr Tony Rao.
Drinks, trade and industry
The ten 'best low alcohol beers' were featured in the Independent. It states that some drinkers have responded to the growing trend for flavoursome and strong beers by 'demanding beers they can consume without the booze challenging their sense of gravity before they’ve finished a pint'. A Twitter debate discussed whether 3.5% really warranted a 'low ABV' label.
Costa Coffee has opened a new concept store in Wandsworth, London, which will serve a range of alcoholic drinks including wine and cider from 4pm to 9pm Monday to Saturday, reports the Mirror.
Starbucks has launched an 'Espresso Cloud IPA', a 'drink that contains two of our favourite things', according to the Independent. Not available in all stores, but not all customers will be interested in 'a refreshing punch of vanilla orange-infused espresso and citrusy IPA'.
Health groups have expressed dissatisfaction following a ruling that a whisky advert featuring David Beckham did not breach advertising codes as he was no longer a role model to children - Daily Mail. Alcohol Concern said the campaign was irresponsible and would imply that drinking was key to social success or acceptance, and called for tighter regulation on advertising.
MP Simon Danczuk attracted the attention of the news following a parliamentary question suggesting the Government do more to highlight the purported benefits of 'moderate drinking', though ITV news highlighted Danczuk had blamed his 'sexting scandal' on a drink problem. Health minister Nicola Blackwood said the alcohol guidelines were to help people make informed decisions, not about labeling people or stopping consumption.
Red wine and hot chocolate is the 'indulgent combination people are hailing as their new winter go-to', according to the Independent. It says 'people looking for a warm beverage to replace chilled summer cocktails have hailed red wine hot chocolate as the "new fall drink" - that is if you believe news reports based on a few tweets.