Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Smoking Ban Encourages Female Binge Drinking?

Smoke-free bars and public houses will attract more female customers and could fuel the rise in binge drinking among women, a report warns.

It points out that as bars and pubs become more appealing venues to women, female customers are more likely to consume larger amounts of alcoholic drinks than before.

And because women are marrying later, they are spending more time in pubs and other venues that serve alcohol, where they are more likely to meet men.

The rise in alcohol consumption among women is causing serious concern for the Government. Doctors say liver disease is now being seen in younger people.

Prof Moira Plant, a specialist in alcohol studies based at the University of West of England, said: "There are now young women in their late teens and early twenties developing liver damage that in the past was not being seen until the age of 60 or 70."

Alcohol abuse was also linked with stomach ulcers and damage to the oesophagus and brain, she said.

A spokesman for the campaign group Alcohol Concern said: "Recent trends in women's drinking are certainly cause for concern. Drinking too much alcohol over a long period can cause serious health problems."

Today's report by Datamonitor, the consumer analysts, says Britons are already the biggest binge drinkers in Europe.

The average British drinker consumes the equivalent of 2.2 pints of lager on each visit to the pub, compared with just 1.1 pints in Sweden.

Generally, people are cutting down on their consumption of alcoholic drinks outside the home and are more likely to be enjoying cheaper beer and wine in front of the television.

But the report says women are catching up with men in pub drinking and predicts that the smoking ban will boost the number of females frequenting bars.

John Band, of Datamonitor, said the average European man drank just over 2.5 times as much alcohol as the average European woman.

The gap was a little smaller than average in Britain, with the average man only drinking 2.1 times as much alcohol as the average woman when going out.

However, the gap is narrowing. Between 2005 and 2010, women's share of drinks consumption in Europe will grow 1.5 per cent a year.

In Britain, women will account for 38 per cent of all drinking by 2010, up from 32 per cent in 2005. Germany will see a similar change.

Mr Band said: "Getting married or having a family restricts 'going-out' opportunities, but women in Europe are increasingly doing this at a later age.

"At the same time, pubs and drinks companies are working hard to provide attractive drinking experiences to female drinkers."

He said female-friendly bars appealed to single men as a more hospitable venue for dating compared with music-oriented nightclubs or traditional pubs.

Mr Band added: "The compulsory banning of smoking in pubs will serve to make venues more attractive to faster-growing consumer groups such as women and middle-aged consumers."

A recent survey estimated that up to a quarter of adults in Britain are binge drinkers. The poll of 2,000 people found that almost one in three men and one in five women drank at least double the recommended daily limit.

Playing Drunk Game Of The Day - Zzed

Source – Telegraph.Co.Uk