Please also see Addictions – 1 (with regard to drink driving)
Alcohol, as we know comes in many forms – beers, whiskey, wine, gin and a number of other forms. We now have a huge choice in the varieties available from all over the world. Having a glass of wine with a meal is very pleasant, as is a beer with your friends. The problem comes when too much is consummed, usually at the weekend, and often involves people at the younger end of the spectrum. A lot of alcohol is consummed because of not coping with life and what it throws at you, or simply because one enjoys being drunk. This is really very illogical when one bears in mind, one is very vulnerable, and likely to do things one will regret later (or be subject to abuse like rape), as well as the consequences with regard to one’s health eg liver disease, cancer and a host of other diseases. Also, those who are drunk, tend to be the biggest users of the Accident and Emergency Department at weekends (see .http://digital.nhs.uk/pubs/aande1516) This means a lot of money and energy is used up by medical staff and when they suffer the most abuse. That means long waiting times for other patients.
I believe that we need a comprehensive plan to vastly reduce the problems associated with the over-use of alcohol:
- only allow small shops to sell alcohol by staff who have been on a nationally-accrediated course;
- each shop to have a licence which is renewed every year after making sure it has followed the law;
- supermarkets are no longer to sell alcohol (this will encourage more people to use small shops and go to pubs);
- pubs and restaurants to only sell alcohol to patrons eating on the premises – staff also need to attend the nationally-accrediated course before they can serve alcohol;
- tax on wine, beer and spirits to be increased by inflation every year;
- a fine of £50 on each occasion is made against anyone being drunk in a public area or a public establishment (if this happens more than three times, the individual is fined £100)
- no advertising on television or on other media (eg cinemas, radio,social media, newspapers, billboards);
- the abuse of alcoholism is included in the national curriculum through science
- if driving, no alcohol should be found when breathlysed;
- a massive media campaign is undertaken on the changes to the law and the consequences of over-use of alcohol
I believe that the above changes will reduce alcoholism greatly, make it safer for people to enjoy themselves (less violence and being vulnerable to abuse) and the numbers turning up at Accident and Emergency each week will go down considerably.
(A nationally-accrediated course should include the following elements:
- the law of the selling of alcohol
- the affects of alcohol on one’s body
- handling people who get drunk or are near to being so
- ‘bouncers’ to have the same training (and a criminal records check undertaken)
- costs bourne by the business
- certificates to be obviously seen in each establishment.)
Alcohol-related deaths in the United Kingdom, 2010:
- In 2010 there were 8,790 alcohol-related deaths in the UK, 126 more than in 2009 (8,664);
- There are more alcohol-related deaths in males than in females, with 67 per cent of all alcohol-related deaths in the UK in 2010 being male;
- Alcohol-related death rates were highest for those aged 55-74 and lowest for those aged under 35 over the last ten years;
- UK males aged 55-74 years showed a sharp and statistically significant increase in alcohol-related death rate from 41.8 per 100,000 in 2009 to 45.2 per 100,000 in 2010.
Alcohol and crime: a snapshot
When it comes to crime, alcohol use has a big impact. Recent crime statistics show that:
- in 45 per cent of all violent crimes, the victims believed their attackers had been drinking
- 37 per cent of domestic violence cases involve alcohol
- in 2007-08, more than a million crimes involved alcohol use in some way
Source – ONS
- If drivers have any alcohol in their blood system, they are to be fined £1,000, plus costs, and have six points deducted from their licence;
- If drivers caused death whilst under the influence of alcohol, they are to be jailed for manslaughter, and have their driving licence revoked permanently;
- If drivers cause injuries to passengers or pedestrians whilst under the influence of alcohol, they are to fined £5,000, plus costs, sent to prison for at least 3 years, and have their licence revoked for five years;
- If non-drivers cause injuries to others, whilst under the influence of alcohol, they are to also to be fined £5,000, plus cost, and sent to prison for at least 5 years;
- Alcohol only to be sold in non-chain supermarkets at twice the cost price, as a minimum, and only to those over 18 years of age;
- Limits to be set as to how much alcohol can be bought at each visit to the retailer;
- Alcohol only to be served in licensed premises which meet certain criteria:
- No alcohol served after 10.00 pm;
- No alcohol served to anyone under 18 years of age;
- Only staff with an officially-recognised certificate to serve alcohol (see below)
- The licence is held by the premises, not the individual, and has to be renewed annually;
- All premises which wish to serve alcohol, must also serve a range of food;
- All intoxicated members of the public to be asked to leave the premises;
- All security staff to be registered by the local council and have been on an appropriate course, approved by the Government;
- If anyone is found intoxicated in a public area, they are to be fined up to £500.
All staff serving alcohol to members of the public, and at events held outside the home, must have a Certificate of Alcohol Awareness and Legal Status. This Certificate is to cover the following units:
- The law surrounding alcohol;
- An overview of the types and strengths of alcohol;
- Strategies in dealing with intoxicated and other difficult customers;
- Customer service standards;
- Health, Safety and well-being of staff and customers (including recognising allergic reactions to alcohol and food).
A regular media campaign is utilised to encourage sensible drinking.
As part of a wider drug-awareness programme in secondary schools, alcohol awareness is taught.
Dangers of Smoking
||Deaths in millions
||% of deaths
|Ischaemic heart disease
|Stroke and other cerebrovascular disease
|Lower respiratory infections
|Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
|Trachea, bronchus, lung cancers
|Road traffic accidents
Major causes of death
Q: How many people die every year?
During 2008, an estimated 57 million people died.
Q: What is the number one cause of death throughout the world?
Cardiovascular diseases kill more people each year than any others. In 2008, 7.3 million people died of ischaemic heart disease, 6.2 million from stroke or another form of cerebrovascular disease.
Q: Isn’t smoking a top cause of death?
Tobacco use is a major cause of many of the world’s top killer diseases – including cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive lung disease and lung cancer. In total, tobacco use is responsible for the death of almost one in 10 adults worldwide. Smoking is often the hidden cause of the disease recorded as responsible for death.
Source – World Health Organisation
See also http://myfinalsmoke.com/global-smoking-statistics-2016/#2016-global-smoking-statistics-and-trends
In 2014, 19% of adults in Great Britain currently smoked, down from a peak of 46% in 1974.
Average consumption among smokers was 11 cigarettes a day – the lowest daily cigarette consumption since the series began when it was 16.
In 2014, 18% of secondary school pupils reported they had tried smoking at least once. Hospital admissions
There were 1.7 million admissions for conditions that could be caused by smoking in 2014/15. This is an average of 4.7 thousand admissions per day.
Of these 475 thousand (28%) were estimated to be attributed to smoking. Deaths
There were 78,000 deaths in 2014 which were estimated to be attributed to smoking.
In 2015, 4% of adults in Great Britain were current e-cigarette users.
More secondary school pupils reported having tried e-cigarettes at least once (22%) than traditional cigarettes (18%). Expenditure
In 2015, tobacco was 27% less affordable than it was in 2005.
Tobacco expenditure as a proportion of total household expenditure has fallen to 1.7% in 2015 from 3.3% in 1985. Prescriptions
In 2014/15 the number of prescription items dispensed in England to help people stop smoking was 1.3 million, compared to 2.0 million ten years ago.
The net ingredient cost was £38.1 million.
Among pupils aged 11 to 15, in England, in 2009:
Three in ten pupils (29%), had tried smoking at least once and 6% were regular smokers (smoking at least one cigarette a week).
Girls were more likely to smoke than boys; 10% of girls had smoked in the last week compared with 8% of boys.
Costs of smoking, in the UK, in 2009:
£16.3 billion was estimated to be spent on tobacco in 2009.
Source – NHS/ONS
Although the UK Government has introduced a number of measures to reduce smoking, including its ban in public areas, smoke-cessation sessions and a media campaign, tobacco use is still too high. We need to take the campaign to the next stage. I would like to make a few suggestions:
- Put a tax on every individual cigarette of £0.50 and £2.00 per tobacco packet;
- Each cigarette is barcoded so it can be tracked – if non-barcoded versions sold, then the seller is fined £10,000. and barred from selling cigarettes in future.
- All businesses selling cigarettes and alcohol are registered and licenced by a national body.
- Allow smoking to only take place in the home;
- Tobacco is only available in non-chain stores and only to those over 21 years of age;
- There is an increase in appropriate staff to prevent a black market operating;
- An intensive programme in schools about the dangers of smoking, taking drugs and alcohol abuse is introduced;
- Continue the media campaign.