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Alcohol use in the United Kingdom (UK) - Statistics & Facts

Alcohol consumption is an enjoyed pastime not only in the United Kingdom, but across the globe. However, the levels at which individuals consume alcohol can negatively affect their state of health. It is advised that men and women should not consume more than 14 units a week on a regular basis. In 2019, it was found that 40 percent of men and 20 percent of women aged between 55 and 64 years were drinking at a level considered to cause an ‘increased risk’ to health. Around a quarter of the English population stated they usually drink alcohol once or twice a week. However, the number of individuals who are teetotal - meaning they do not drink alcohol at all is – has been on the rise.

In the UK it is illegal to sell or serve alcohol to individuals under 18 years old. Nevertheless, children as young as eleven have admitted trying alcohol at least once, with the main alcoholic beverage of choice being beer/lager/cider for boys and spirits for girls. The general opinion among teenagers is that it is ‘okay to try alcohol’ before reaching the legal age. Despite this, the share of young people consuming alcohol has in general decreased in recent years.

The consequences of alcohol consumption can vary from alcoholic liver disease or pancreatitis to unintentional injuries. Excessive alcohol consumption was the leading reason why individuals referred themselves for help with substance abuse in Wales in 2019. In the UK overall, the alcohol-specific death rate has increased in the past 25 years to 16.1 males per 100,000 and 7.8 females per 100,000 in 2019.

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