The UK Government has launched a mobile phone application that allows people to keep track of their drinking.

To coincide with the start of the Christmas period, the alcohol tracker works out how many units are in a glass of wine or pint of beer.

It also tells users how much alcohol has been consumed over a set period and gives personalised feedback on drinking habits. It will also find local NHS clinics and advice centres, said the Department of Health yesterday (1 December).

The alcohol tracker is available free across the UK from iTunes and the NHS Choices website, although users will need internet access on their phones.

"It is all too easy to lose track of how much you drink. So as the festive parties start to build up, this innovative tool will help people keep tabs on their drinking - wherever they are," said public health minister Gillian Merron.

According to the NHS, men who regularly drink more than eight units a day (about three pints of lager) and women who regularly drink more than six units a day (about two large glasses of wine) are considered to be at higher risk of harming their health.

Both are more than five times more likely than non-drinkers to suffer mouth cancer and more than three times more likely to have a stroke.

Chris Sorek, CEO of responsible drinking charity Drinkaware, backed the tracker device.

"Trying to stick within the daily unit guidelines will help people avoid the January slump and the long term health implications associated with drinking too much alcohol," he said.

The application can be downloaded at: http://www.nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/Toolslibrary.aspx

Drinkaware yesterday launched what it described as the largest interactive examination of the nation's drinking.