Page last updated at 00:16 GMT, Sunday, 3 August 2008 01:16 UK

Scots 'ignorant' of drink levels

Man drinking
Many were unsure how many units of alcohol drinks contained

Many Scots remain ignorant of how much it is safe to drink or how much alcohol drinks contain, a survey has suggested.

The majority of those questioned thought alcohol caused more harm north of the border than heroin or tobacco.

However, less than half could identify the recommended daily intake for men and women, despite a string of high-profile, anti-alcohol campaigns.

The conclusions of the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey come as the government targeted Scotland's "booze culture".

Heavy drinking results in 40,000 hospital admissions a year and 70% of assaults are alcohol-related, according to ministers.

It also costs the country 2.25bn a year, they said.

Many people still don't know how many units of alcohol their pint of beer or glass of wine contains - meaning they could well be drinking above recommended limits
Shona Robison
Public Health Minister
The survey, carried out by the Scottish Centre for Social Research, saw 1,058 people across Scotland interviewed.

Almost half believed Scotland's record of heavy drinking was a source of shame - but two thirds also said it was "a major part of the Scottish way of life".

There was clear recognition of the harm caused by alcohol in the interviews - a total of 89% of women and 80% of men recognised hazardous drinking was "very" or "fairly-likely" to damage health in the long-term.

But there was still widespread ignorance among those quizzed about how much it was safe to drink.

Only 34% knew men were advised to drink no more than three-to-four units a day.

And only 41% were aware the recommended daily limit for women was two-to-three units.

Cheap booze

Many were also ignorant of how much alcohol their drinks contained.

About half knew the number of units in a pint of beer or a single measure of spirits, but only 15% knew there were eight to 10 in a bottle of wine.

About 51% of respondents also said alcohol was the drug that caused most problems north of the border - more than double the number who thought heroin was the most harmful (22%).

Only 9% thought tobacco was the worst.

Scottish Public Health Minister Shona Robison said: "The survey results appear to show many people still don't know how many units of alcohol their pint of beer or glass of wine contains - meaning they could well be drinking above recommended limits."

The research came several weeks after the Scottish Government unveiled plans to cut down on alcohol abuse including raising the purchase age in off-sales to 21 and minimum prices to tackle cheap booze.


SEE ALSO
Minister sees booze sales trial
23 Jul 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Plan for 'minimum priced' alcohol
16 Jun 08 |  Scotland
NHS anti-alcohol funding doubled
20 Mar 08 |  Scotland
Fife MSP launches drinks petition
26 Jun 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Doctors back alcohol label call
19 Oct 07 |  Scotland
MSP vows to cut down on alcohol
08 Mar 07 |  Scotland

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