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UK brewers attack report claiming "no safe level" of alcohol consumption

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A UK beer trade body has hit back at a scientific report that claims there is no safe drinking level for alcohol.

The BBPA said UK brewers have a long-standing record of promoting responsible drinking

The BBPA said UK brewers have a long-standing record of promoting responsible drinking

The report, published this week in the Lancet journal, argues that previous estimates of alcohol's contribution to poor health and death have been under-estimated. The report's authors go against previous guidelines that advocated low-levels of consumption, saying that no level of alcohol intake improves health.

Commenting on the study, British Beer & Pub Association chief executive Brigid Simmonds highlighted the "many" scientific studies that support moderate alcohol consumption as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Simmonds also argued that "many choices in life carry potential risks and benefits".

"UK brewers have a long-standing record of promoting responsible drinking and enabling consumers to make informed decisions," Simmonds added. "We believe that for adults of legal drinking age who choose to drink, moderate alcohol consumption can be part of a well-balanced lifestyle."

Also this week, another report claimed that almost 70% of UK alcohol sales come from consumers who drink above the country's safe-level guidelines. Meanwhile, the heaviest drinking 4% of the population account for 23% of all industry revenue, according to the research.

Writing in the New Statesman yesterday, report co-author Aveek Bhattacharya said that if UK consumers stayed within safe drinking levels, alcohol sales could decline by 38%, or GBP13bn per year. 

Bhattacharya, a policy analyst at the Institute of Alcohol Studies, continued: "The alcohol industry has a strong financial interest in ensuring its consumers continue to drink at a level hazardous to their health."

Responding to the report, a spokesman for industry body the Alcohol Information Partnership told the Guardian newspaper that consumption in the country has been declining and that targeted action is the best way to address concerns.

"We firmly believe that a one-size-fits-all approach is unhelpful and punishes the vast majority of people who enjoy a drink, but are not problem drinkers," he said.

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