The Government has accepted new cautious alcohol consumption guidance, which limits the recommended units of alcohol to 14 a week, with no alcohol at all for pregnant women.
Following the consultation, the Chief Medical Officers’ updated guidelines say neither men nor women should drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week, a reduction from 21 for men compared to the previous 1995 guideline.
It also says that for pregnant women, or women who think they may become pregnant, the safest thing to do is to not drink alcohol at all.
The consultation had also asked whether the guideline should include advice on maximum units to safely drink on a single occasion, such as for example seven.
But based on feedback, this has been excluded because it was lacking evidence base and risked making the guideline confusing.
The Government said it also considered feedback suggesting the CMOs’ draft guideline had been intended to stop people drinking entirely, ‘with the term “nanny state” used on a few occasions’.
In response, it concluded the final advice had to recognise that ‘for many alcohol is a part of their social lives and as with most activities, this carries a degree of risk’.
It said: ‘The intention is to help people understand the risks alcohol may pose to their health and to make decisions about their consumption in the light of those risks, but not to prevent those who want to drink alcohol from doing so.’