More working years lost to alcohol than 10 most common cancers
Health campaigners across the region are calling for an increase in taxes on the cheapest alcohol following the publication of a report revealing more working years are lost to alcohol than the 10 most frequent cancer types combined.
The report goes on to say that alcohol is the leading cause of ill health and death amongst 15-49 year olds and results in 167,000 years of life lost amongst people of working age.
Published today in The Lancet, the findings are based on a comprehensive evidence review carried out by Public Health England. It comes to the same conclusion as the World Health Organization, the World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and many others.
Raising the price of the cheapest alcohol is the most effective way to save lives while reducing costs to the NHS, other public services and the wider economy.
The review, one of the most comprehensive ever carried out, also says protecting children from alcohol advertising; reducing the overall availability of alcohol by restricting hours of opening; and drink driving measures such as a reduction in the blood alcohol level are both effective and cost effective.
The North East is in the front line when it comes to alcohol harm. The region has the highest rate of alcohol related hospital admissions and the highest rates of youth drinking in England, with alcohol harm costing the NHS, police, local authorities and the wider economy almost £1 billion every year.
Directors of public health in the North East are calling for an increase in alcohol duty on the cheapest products, such as strong white cider typically consumed by young people and heavy drinkers. A recent price survey carried out in the region by Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, revealed that a three litre bottle of white cider, containing the equivalent of 22 shots of vodka, is available for only £3.99.