Selected media stories since the January roundup:
Ahead of the government's spring Budget this week, both 'sides' campaigning for changes in alcohol duty have been seeing some coverage of their calls. The Alcohol Health Alliance and other health groups have been calling for a raise in duties relating to cheap white cider, which were implicated in the recent death of a 16 year old girl - The Mirror.
Meanwhile tax revenues from alcohol were the subject of a Telegraph article by Chris Snowdon of the free-market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, who argued for a flat-rate tax (of 9p) per unit of alcohol, which would "pay for all the costs imposed on public services by alcohol abuse and would incentivise the development of lower strength drinks across the board." However a new IAS report exploring alcohol and the economy suggests wider societal costs outweigh direct costs to the Government and considers the potential impacts of Brexit and EU duty laws.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) Family Spending Survey shows in the year to the end of March 2016, families spent an average of £11.40 a week on alcohol and cigarettes, compared to nearly £20 a week at the start of the 2000s, says the BBC. The Guardian reflected opposing consumption trends in articles covering under 25's turning to 'mindful drinking' and the end of hedonism, in contrast to baby boomers 'hitting the bottle like never before'.
The release of a 'manifesto' for the children of alcoholics saw many stories in the press about living with an alcoholic parent, eg the Express, and coverage of children's calls to helplines because of their parents' drinking, eg the Mirror. However, Dave Roberts of alcohol industry group the Alcohol Information Partnership cried foul to the Guardian, saying "the use of exaggerated numbers to support the cause is misleading and unhelpful".
The EU is being urged to legislate for the wide-scale use of alcolocks, or alcohol interlock systems, which are automatic systems that require the driver to blow into a breathalyser fitted inside their car. They can be adjusted to kick in at different limits but generally mean the vehicle can only be started if no alcohol is detected. Independent
Meanwhile, a lack of adequate breath-testing equipment has delayed the introduction of stricter drink-driving laws in Northern Ireland, reported the BBC. Police are waiting for new equipment from the Home Office before the lower limits can be enforced. The new laws, passed in April 2016, lower the limits by almost 40%.
Lloyd’s of London has introduced a 9am-to-5pm alcohol ban which could see employees sacked for gross misconduct if caught breaking the new rule. The Standard reported the ban was introduced after an analysis of grievance and disciplinary cases over the last two years found “roughly half” were related to alcohol misuse. City worker's reactions were covered in this Guardian report.
What next after Dry January? Marianne Power in the Telegraph is going for a dry 2017 while Vice suggests "how to actually curb your drinking for the rest of the year." The Sun's take asked a hypnotherpaist for tips on 'chaning your mindset' to avoid February being the 'booziest month of the year' - an effect Dry January research apparently counters. Not such a dry January for supermarket wines sales though according to Harpers.
Men who drink more than a pint of beer a day over several years may increase their chances of heart disease by prematurely ageing their arteries, reported the MailOnline of UK research to evaluate the association between alcohol consumption over 25 years and subsequent changes in arterial stiffness. However, NHS Choices said other parts of the UK media got into 'a bit of a muddle' about whether the study says drinking more than a pint a day, just a pint a day, or even just half a pint a week is linked to cardiovascular disease.
Data published by Cancer Research UK shows that unhealthy lifestyles are contributing to a rise in cancer cases among both sexes, with women are bearing the brunt of the increase, reported the Telegraph. Cancer rates in women will rise at six times the rate of that in men, new forecasts show. The Mirror reported a survey of 2,000 British adults by the World Cancer Research Fund, which found that 87% were unaware that the drink could increase a person’s risk of cancer.
Wetherspoon is to become the first pub chain in the country to tell punters how many calories their drinks contain, for example a pint of Stella Artois reportedly contains 227. Mirror
After a supermarket refused to sell alcohol to a dad because he was with his teenage daughter, ChronicleLive took a look at when supermarkets can, and do, refuse to serve customers.
The industry has welcomed the second phase of the local alcohol action areas (LAAAs) programme aimed at reducing alcohol-related harm, crime and disorder, which the Home Office said costs England and Wales an estimated £11bn per year. Morning Advertiser.