- Survey shows Scots lockdown drinking rise caused by stress
- Australian ministers agree to visible pregnancy warning
- Alcohol Focus Scotland welcomes new WHO report on alcohol pricing
- Statistical analysis of off-trade alcohol sales in the year following MUP
- Alcohol Focus Scotland Review of statements of licensing policy 2018 to 2023
- Scotland needs to continue long-term focus on alcohol
- We need to continue long-term focus on alcohol
- Scots report changing drinking patterns during coronavirus lockdown
- Time to Blow the Whistle on Alcohol Sport Sponsorship
- Five top tips for working remotely
- New evidence demonstrates that alcohol ads lead to youth drinking
- Alcohol sales fall in first year of MUP
- First study published into under 18 drinkers post MUP
- Commission on Alcohol Harm calls for evidence
- Two years on Are annual functions reports reaching their potential?
- We need to do more to protect our children and young people
- Alcohol related hospital admissions for 2018 to 2019
- Hitting the right note in training
- Minimum unit pricing update
- Scottish primary children call for action on alcohol
- New Alcohol Deaths Prevention Support Now Available from AFS
- Its time to tell us whats in our drinks
- A home for Rory
- Making a bad impression - blog post
- Alcohol sales and MUP
- Alcohol-specific deaths 2018
- Five tips for upping the engagement factor
- Alcohol marketing and children debate in the Scottish Parliament
- Lowest alcohol sales in 25 years
- Research into fall in violence
- The Children's Parliament investigates an alcohol-free childhood
- Five tips for training delivery nerves
- Minimum unit pricing one year on
- More about sales data
- A family of resources it is all about prevention, education and resilience
- AFS publish Review of Licensing Board Annual Functions Reports 2017-2018
- Marketing unmasked dispelling the myths and taking a stand
- No place for alcohol marketing in sport
- Five pitfalls to avoid in evaluating training
- Scotland publishes first UK guidelines for diagnosing fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)
- The Alcohol Framework 2018 Preventing Harm
- Scotlands new drug and alcohol strategy launched
- AFS welcome new alcohol strategy
- Recent reporting on alcohol sales data
- Cross-Party Group Improving Scotland's health: 2021 and beyond October 2018
- Diageo is failing to provide latest guidelines on their products
- Drinks companies keeping consumers in dark about risky drinking
- Reducing alcohol consumption can address health inequalities
- Alcohol-specific deaths remain at very high levels
- Oh Lila goes digital
- Global first alcohol policy set to save hundreds of Scots' lives
- AFS welcomes minimum unit pricing for alcohol
- Walker's crisp ad exposes children to alcohol marketing
- Truer picture of alcohol harm revealed
- Focus on link between alcohol and obesity
- Alcohol causes 3,700 deaths in Scotland every year
- Last Christmas for heavily discounted alcohol
- Scotland's licensing system needs clearer direction
- Minimum pricing blog
- Minimum pricing gets green light
- 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
- SWA granted leave to appeal minimum pricing
- Drink drive warning
- Scottish Greens call for action on alcohol marketing
- Scottish Government receives European alcohol award
- SWA will appeal to UK Supreme Court
- Half of alcohol being sold under 50p per unit
- SWA urged to respect minimum pricing decision
- Alcohol and mental health are closely linked
- 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
- AFS welcomes revised alcohol consumption guidelines
- Emergency services face shocking levels of alcohol abuse
- Every child has the right to grow up safe from alcohol harm
- Public health must prevail over big business
- New toolkit to help children affected by family alcohol problems
- Price check reveals cheap cost of strong alcohol
- Sales increase underlines need for minimum pricing
- Time to kick alcohol out of sport
- Alcohol linked with stomach cancer
- AFS calls for compulsory health warnings on alcoholic drinks
- Are supermarkets 'responsible retailers' when it comes to alcohol?
- Scottish health charities call for excise duty rise to tackle cheap alcohol
- Alcohol campaigners unite to call for stronger protection from alcohol advertising to children
- New resource for people concerned about alcohol in their community
- Minimum pricing decision delayed until summer
- No completely 'safe' level of drinking
- New alcohol guidelines published
- Minimum pricing - European court ruling
- Alcohol fuels ambulance assaults
- 82% of Scots agree drink driving is unacceptable
- 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
Scots report changing drinking patterns during coronavirus lockdown
Polling suggests more than a million adults in Scotland have reduced how often they drink or stopped drinking altogether, while the same proportion are drinking more frequently.
New figures from polling commissioned by health charities Alcohol Focus Scotland and Alcohol Change UK suggest that a majority of Scots are changing their drinking habits during lockdown.
The figures suggest that more than a million adults (29%) in Scotland are drinking more than they were before lockdown measures were introduced. However, the same proportion have reported a reduction in how often they are drinking or have stopped drinking altogether.
Many of those who have cut down their drinking during lockdown have said that this has had a positive impact with over a quarter (28%) reporting improvements to their mental health, and around a third (35%) saying their physical health has been better since cutting down. A quarter said their reduced drinking has made them more productive (26%), and around a third reported their energy levels and sleep quality have improved (32% and 34% respectively).
Conversely, one in five of those who have been drinking more in the last few weeks reported the negative impact that this is having on their lives. Two-fifths (42%) of people found that drinking more has led to reduced quality of sleep and energy levels, and 29% and 23% said that it has made their mental and physical health worse, respectively.
While it is encouraging to see people recognising the benefits of not drinking and taking steps to manage this, it is people who normally drink at low levels who are limiting their intake. Half of those who drank once a month or less before the lockdown have cut down or stopped drinking completely, compared to only 19% of those drinking four or more times a week.
Worryingly, 29% of people who drank four or more times a week before lockdown reported drinking more.
Alison Douglas, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland said, “We’re dealing with unprecedented levels of change and we’re all trying our best to adjust to the new circumstances we find ourselves in. It is understandable that we may be feeling more stressed and worried than usual.
“Many people drink alcohol to relax, forget their problems and combat feelings of stress, but as many people are seeing, it’s not always the best coping mechanism. As well as affecting our sleep, drinking alcohol can make more difficult to manage our negative thoughts and feelings and increase our levels of anxiety.
“Over the longer term, regularly drinking over 14 units a week can cause more serious health problems, increasing our risk of cancer, stroke and liver disease.
“It’s positive to see many people taking active steps to manage their drinking such as having alcohol-free days, not buying a lot of alcohol at one time or stopping completely. But it’s those who are greatest risk who are finding it harder to cut down.
“If you are drinking at home, it’s a good idea to try and keep track of how much you’re having, stay within the low-risk limits of 14 units a week and try to make sure you have alcohol-free days.
“And, if you need support, there is lots available on-line and by phone, including from We are with you and Alcoholics Anonymous, who are running virtual support groups.”
Dr Gregor Smith, Interim Chief Medical Officer, highlighted in his briefing on Tuesday 21st April, that alcohol can reduce the immune system’s ability to fight off infectious diseases and have an impact on the health of your heart and lungs. He added that “choosing to cut back on how much you drink will reduce of complications linked to coronavirus.”
Total sample size for Scotland was 576 adults (18+), of whom 83% drank alcohol before the lockdown began. The survey was carried out online by Opinium, between 8 and 14 April 2020, two weeks after the UK and Scottish governments introduced more stringent social distancing measures to tackle the COVID-19 crisis (23 March 2020).
The adult drinking population of Scotland was calculated to be 3,703,813. Estimates of the adult population were taken from National Records of Scotland (2019). Mid-Year Population Estimates, Mid-2018, and an estimate of the proportion of the Scottish population that drink alcohol (84%) was obtained from the Scottish Health Survey 2018 Edition.