[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 4 June 2007, 12:08 GMT 13:08 UK
Call for pub alcohol warnings
Image of a glass of wine
Drinks served in glasses are not covered by government proposals
Pubs should put up posters and restaurants include warnings in menus giving information about the number of units in alcoholic drinks, doctors say.

The government announced last month that alcohol labelling will come into force by the end of next year.

But the voluntary agreement with industry excludes drinks served in glasses - such as pints of beer.

The British Medical Association said the proposals did not go far enough and said people needed better information.

It is not the nanny state. It is the information state
Dr Vivienne Nathanson, of the BMA

Dr Vivienne Nathanson, head of science and ethics at the BMA, said posters could be put up in nightclubs and pubs, while restaurants could contain the information in menus.

"It is not the nanny state. It is the information state. It is about informed choices.

"It is hard for the average person to work out how many units are in a drink these days.

"Glasses of wine are much larger than they used to be and many beers and wines are much stronger.

"This means the old assumptions about units are underestimates."

Under the government's proposals, all drinks sold in shops or those that come pre-bottled in pubs will have warnings on them including the number of units each drink contains and more general warnings about the risks of drinking to excess.

A spokesman for the British Beer and Pub Association said: "We are in discussion with government about how to make people more aware about how much they are drinking."

But he suggested that posters may not be the answer. "What we want to do is work out what is the most effective approach."

Abstain

The BMA made the suggestion as they launched a report into the dangers of drinking alcohol during pregnancy.

They recommended that women should not drink alcohol at all while trying to conceive or during pregnancy - just as the government had said last month.

It represents a strengthening of position in the UK, with women traditionally advised one or two units a week was okay.

However, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is still stressing pregnant women are fine to drink alcohol as long as they keep it to no more than one or two units once or twice a week.

The BMA report admitted there was no definitive evidence that low levels of alcohol harmed the foetus, but said it was safer to abstain.

Doctors also warned that foetal alcohol syndrome disorders, which include abnormal facial features, growth deficiency and learning difficulties, were not being diagnosed.

About 100 babies a year are diagnosed with foetal alcohol syndrome in the UK - the most severe form of the condition.

But Sir Charles George, chairman of the BMA's board of science, said the true rates of milder forms of the condition, which could just include learning difficulties or behavioural problems, could be 10 times higher than that.

"The problem is that doctors and the public are not aware enough of the condition."




SEE ALSO
Alcohol health warnings by 2008
28 May 07 |  Health
Health warnings for drinks cans
13 Apr 06 |  Health
Surgeon calls for pub drink limit
11 Dec 05 |  Scotland
One in four are binge drinkers
27 Oct 05 |  Health
Drink culture death rate warning
05 Jan 06 |  Scotland

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific