- Minimum pricing blog
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- Reflections on GAPC 2017
- Alcohol brands and young people
- Time for honest conversations about alcohol
- Q&A on alcohol marketing
- UK children anxious about parents' drinking
- Quarter of Scots drink above guidelines
- Alcohol producers failing to inform public
- Concern over alcohol-related deaths
- We need to make it easier for people to drink less
- Worrying rise in alcohol-related deaths
- Minimum pricing will save lives
- Pocket money prices for alcohol continue
- Scotland's alcohol problem laid bare
- Cheap alcohol is costing Scotland dear
- One drink a day can increase breast cancer risk
- Poverty linked to increased harm from alcohol
- What next for reducing alcohol harm in Scotland?
- Scotland must do more to turn tide of alcohol harm
- Concern as funding for alcohol services cut
- Budget: No change in alcohol duty
- Scottish Government urged to curb alcohol marketing
- Consumers have the right to know health risks
- Chancellor urged to tackle cheap, strong cider in Budget
- Online help for families affected by alcohol
- Alcohol-free childhood is healthiest option
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- Half of alcohol being sold under 50p per unit
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- Minimum pricing can be implemented in Scotland
- Alcohol sold at pocket money prices
- Scotland has so much to gain from reducing how much we drink
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- Emergency services face shocking levels of alcohol abuse
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- Scotland's alcohol strategy - what next?
- Scotland leads way in evidence-based alcohol policy
- New report reveals impact of alcohol on emergency services
- Alcohol: a global concern
- Campaigners gather in Edinburgh for global alcohol conference
Poverty linked to increased harm from alcohol
Drinking heavily is disproportionately harmful for the poorest in society, with a greater risk of dying or becoming ill due to alcohol consumption.
A new study, published in The Lancet Public Health and led by the University of Glasgow has found that there is a marked link between socioeconomic status and the harm caused by drinking alcohol excessively.
The study found that although increased consumption was associated with harm in all groups of people, it was disproportionately harmful for the poorest in society.
Compared with light drinkers living in advantaged areas, excessive drinkers were at around a seven-fold increased risk of alcohol harms. In contrast, excessive drinkers in deprived areas experienced an eleven-fold increase.
Harmful impacts of alcohol are higher in socioeconomically disadvantaged communities. However, until now it was unclear whether those increased harms were as a result of differences in drinking or as a result of other factors.
The authors found that moving into areas of high deprivation as a consequence of heavy drinking did not explain the findings.
Lead author of the study Dr Vittal Katikireddi, University of Glasgow, said:
“Our study finds that the poorest in society are at greater risk of alcohol’s harmful impacts on health, but this is not because they are drinking more or more often binge drinking.
“Experiencing poverty may impact on health, not only through leading an unhealthy lifestyle but also as a direct consequence of poor material circumstances and psychosocial stresses. Poverty may therefore reduce resilience to disease, predisposing people to greater health harms of alcohol.”
Study co-author Dr Elise Whitley, said:
“Heavier drinking is associated with greater alcohol-related harm in all individuals. However, our study suggests that the harm is greater in those living in poorer areas or who have a lower income, fewer qualifications, or a manual occupation.”
The authors linked different sets of data to confidentially bring together information from the Scottish Health Surveys with electronic health records, studying more than 50,000 people.
This study suggests that even when other factors are accounted for, including smoking and obesity, living in deprived areas was consistently associated with higher alcohol-related harms.
The authors defined harm from alcohol consumption based on deaths, hospitalisations and prescriptions that were attributable to alcohol.