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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 June 2006, 11:58 GMT 12:58 UK
Over 40s warned to 'drink less'
People are said to be drinking more because of cheap price promotions
People in the 40 to 60 age range should be encouraged to drink less, according to a new report.

An expert group commissioned by NHS Scotland has found older people are drinking considerably more than previous generations.

It has suggested lowering the recommended level for safe drinking for baby-boomers, as the body's ability to cope with drink decreases with age.

It also suggested people are drinking more because alcohol is too cheap.

More and more older men and women are suffering from cirrhosis of the liver, according to the experts who carried out the study.

[We need] to try and stabilise the price of alcohol and not have any more cut-price promotions, get rid of the two for one's and so on
Paul Waterson
Licensed Trade Association

The report advises that recommendations on sensible drinking levels should be amended for the older drinker.

The experts want the current advice of a weekly intake for men of 21 units and 14 for women to be brought down on a sliding scale with age.

Director of public health sciences at NHS Scotland, Dr Laurence Gruer, said there was a suggestion that advice on drinking should be amended for different age groups.

He said: "As people get older, the ability of their bodies to handle the alcohol goes down so that you can't actually take so much on board for the same effect.

"These experts are suggesting that we need to lower the current recommended alcohol limits specifically for older people."

Dr Laurence Gruer
Dr Gruer said older people can not handle as much alcohol

The report also contained a recommendation that consideration should be given to putting up prices to make drinking less attractive.

Paul Waterson, of the Licensed Trade Association, told BBC Scotland that there are too many cut price promotions available.

He said: "If we want to sort out the problems with alcohol in Scotland, there are a number of things we could do.

"One being to limit the number of outlets we have, there are far too many licenses at present - that factor is responsible for a lot of the irresponsible drinks promotions that we have.

"Another is to try and stabilise the price of alcohol and not have any more cut-price promotions, get rid of the two for one's and so on."

The Scottish Executive is currently looking at how to deal with alcohol-related problems in Scotland and an action plan on the issue is due to be published later this year.

See a full interview with Dr Gruer on the subject

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