28% of Britons drink three pints at a go once a month

The latest horrible scare story from WHO.

Researchers also compared prevalence of “heavy episodic drinking” – which was defined as more than six units – or three pints of lager – on one occasion, in the previous month.

Shekhar Saxena, director for mental health and substance abuse at the WHO, said: “We found that worldwide about 16 percent of drinkers engage in heavy episodic drinking – often referred to as ‘binge-drinking’ – which is the most harmful to health.”

In the UK, the percentage was almost twice as high, with 28 per cent of those aged 15 and over drinking as much.

The research found that in the UK, 35.5 per cent of men, and 20.9 per cent of women, had drunk six units, or 60 grams of alcohol on at least one occasion in the previous month.

Appalling, isn’t it? Clear evidence of widespread public drunkenness and the need for a ban on all alcohol advertising and the introduction of minimum pricing. For that is the evidence that is being used to demand such things as a result of this latest report.

Alternatively we could tell the wowsers to fuck off and we’ll take care of our own livers thank you very much.

I mean seriously, who in buggery is going to take the consumption of three pints as evidence of the breakdown of civilisation? That amount for breakfast every day might be of concern but over a couple of hours on a Friday night? It would hardly put the average male over the drink driving limit.

G’arn, get outta here and take your Methodism with you.

32 thoughts on “28% of Britons drink three pints at a go once a month”

  1. So basically 2/3 men and 4/5 women dont drink over 3 pints in one go over an entire month. How do you get from that too “we have a huge drinking problem”?! These people are nuts.

  2. Fans of the history of puritan insanity might be interested or not in knowing that this traces back to one Henry Wechsler, a mithering busybody at Harvard School Of Public Nanny Fuckwittery, who set himself the task of igniting a moral panic about college students having a beer or two at keg parties. ‘Twas he who invented the catchphrase “binge drinking” and the ludirously low consumptional definition, with help from some funding and PR by the infamous tambourine bangers The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

    And here we are.

  3. It’s worse than that – only two pints can be enough to reach 6 units. For example Kronenbourg 1664 is 5.5% abv, that makes 3.1 units per pint.

    Incidentally, while researching this point, I discovered that many other brewers have been quietly reducing the alcohol content of their beers to lower the tax due.

  4. From the Daily Mash…

    “You seem to have confused a safe drinking limit with what I like to call ‘lunch’ ”

    a single 3 pint session per month. Huh.

  5. Bloke with a Boat


    That could also have something to do with the way they gradually increased the volume of alcohol in beers during the 80s and 90s when the lager culture kicked off. I remember when the fuss started in the 70s and then beer (bitter anyway) was usually around 3.8%.

  6. ‘That amount for breakfast every day might be of concern…’

    It’s nobody’s business what anybody drinks for breakfast or any other time.

    It’s very fine, moral and reasonable to choose to stay topped up or more constantly. A choice to be respected for those who find life needs to coped with or just wants to.

    And I’m teetotal.

  7. The mere fact that the ‘binge level’ is set at 6 units suggests that is the only way WHO could get anything out of the survey.

    What percentage of people drink more than, say, 12 units, at least once a week? If only 28% drink 6 or more once a month, then the percentage of real boozers must be tiny.

    Of course there is also the argument that a good binge, followed by a few days off to let the liver recover is better than a constant, lower level assault.

    But then I have seen reports which suggest that alcohol consumption at any level between a wee dram and quite a lot is good for you. Only the teetotallers and chronic pissheads lose out.

  8. Andrew M, BwaB,

    I am very fond of the old fashioned English ‘session ale’ with less than 3% ABV. Great for dealing with a thirst and sustaining one for the whole night without danger.

    I did have a couple of Belgian beers at 9% and 11% recently, both good but not something you can drink a lot of. Unfortunately you also can’t linger over them as they’re unpleasant when not ice-cold. So you either alternate with soft drinks or go home befuddled at 9pm…

  9. I’m relieved to see I don’t have a drinking problem, there is nothing episodic about my “heavy” drinking. Another bottle of red will not have died in vain tonight.

  10. Note that the previously laughable definition of “binge drinking” was more than 8 units. Now it has mysteriously dropped to 6.

    This is n line with the “arms race of fanatics” theory, which states that organisations captured by extremists get more and more extreme as the nutters position themselves against each other.

    Three pints in an evening is not a ‘binge’ and is not remotely dangerous. Fuck off.

  11. Bloke with a Boat,

    Can you expand on that comment? Why did they significantly increase the alcohol content over that period? I don’t recall the higher alcohol content being promoted as part of their marketing strategy; whereas it is fairly central to today’s marketing of Stella 4, Becks 4, Carling C2, etc. I think lagers were always 5-5.5% and bitters were always 3-4%, but I could be mistaken.

  12. Until the 70s, British beer was still suffering from being waterery piss like Watneys, the hangover from the previous Temperance era, which is why CAMRA came into existence, to lobby for stronger beer under the banner of “real” ale.

    Now, of course, we’re in another temperance era as we re-run the period from around 1850 to 1950 at a faster pace (which hopefully means that this puritan disaster won’t last as long. Fingers crossed).

  13. Ignoring the tomfoolery of the actual survey and conclusions, it does rather shine a light on State (or, I suppose, in this case, Stateless, but you know what I mean) Jobs.

    Non-Jobs, sincecures for those with the contacts.

    If this is what occupies the time of the director for mental health and substance abuse at the WHO, then it really is a non-job. But any guesses what this joker earns? $100k, $200k? Tax free, I believe?

    I sometimes wonder – though not often, for it’s far worse for my mental health than 3 pints of weak beer – what amount of the world GDP is used up by arseholes like these.

  14. @BWAB, Andrew, Ian

    as I understand it, part of what happened over the 90s was the brewing industry realising that many people far preferred E to booze and therefore trying to market alcohol as a drug. Hence all the weird shooters and nasty shots, as well as the nasty sticky infantile alcopop type drinks (although they were probably aimed at teh wimminz as well). Not sure if raising the ABV was part of this.

    I think the marketing director of Whitbread is quoted somewhere talking about this. (qv E for Ecstasy by Matthew Collins & other works).

    Also, the increasing popularity of new world wines – which are mostly stronger – probably contributed. I bet most binge drinkers are on wine rather than beer.

  15. “who in buggery is going to take the consumption of three pints as evidence of the breakdown of civilisation”: since you had earlier implied that the pints in question are pints of lager, I am. A couple of generations of males who have never acquired an adult taste in beer – bloody pathetic.

  16. Sam,

    The ABV thing started long before the 90s, with the “real ale” crowd with twigs in their beards in the anti-puritan 70s. Or “ours” since, yes, I was a real ale bore too. The whole point of getting ABV front and centre was so you could head straight for the strongest attitude adjuster while talking Jilly Gouldenesque bullshit about the hoppy character and hints of new mown hay in the aftertaste. Then fall over.

  17. he “real ale” crowd with twigs in their beards…yes, I was a real ale bore too.

    Me too, now. Went on holiday to the Lakes. Spent a fortnight on Jennings. Came back, took one mouthful of my usual watery fizzy europiss and spat it in the sink.

    Ruined now. Before I know it I’ll probably be wearing a neckerchief and buying a banjo or some shit.

  18. Sam, you’re probably okay, but there are warning signs. If you find yourself talking in mock anachronism- “a tankard of this esteemed hostelry’s finest foaming ale, bar wench”- you’ve reached a dangerous place.

  19. The Other Bloke in Italy

    I implore someone, anyone, to think of those of us who were born two drinks below par.

  20. WTF? 3 or 4 pints in the pub after a day in the office is usual for me, you don’t even get tipsy off that over a few hours.

    Quick calc says 2 litres of 4% is 80ml. Body burns up about 15ml/hour. After 3 hours there’s 35ml of ethanol left in you. 70kg man has about 42kg of water in to which the ethanol will go. 42kg/35ml is 0.0833% (that’s not even allowing for the significantly lower density of ethanol). Drink driving limit is 0.08%.

    Anyway, I’m off to the pub now.

  21. What is the logic behind this, given that ‘they’ obviously know it’s medical bullshit?

    More than that, why the war on pubs?

    Do they just not want people meeting and chatting in case it foments revolution? I can’t work it out.

  22. Limiting your intake to below 6.0 units is a tough ask if you are stopping off for a pint with a couple of mates after work (assuming everyone buys a round), unless you stick to session ale – something around 3.8%. Unfortunately my friends at the brewery tell me it is difficult to produce anything that tastes half-decent with a rating of less than 5.0%, lager or ale/bitter, and I haven’t seen a cider in years that’s outside the 6.5-9.0 range. All this nagging takes the fun out of life.

  23. It matters not to the busybodies what the subject is, be it guns, booze, broads. The point is that they want control over YOU. They can make up excuses and reason later.

  24. Interested=

    More than that, why the war on pubs?

    Like I keep saying, it’s because they’re puritans. They find any form of intoxication unacceptable. It really is that straightforward.

  25. “Unfortunately my friends at the brewery tell me it is difficult to produce anything that tastes half-decent with a rating of less than 5.0%”: doesn’t history prove that wrong?

  26. When I first came to the UK in 1991, I found that a lot of lager sold in English pubs was weaker than I was used to – even lager sold under the same brand-name. In particular Heineken and Fosters sold here was around the 3.5% mark compared to the 4.5%-5% mark sold in the Netherlands and Australia respectively. Heineken destroyed the reputation of its brand in the UK with this, and has gone back to selling the authentic Dutch product in the UK. Australian Fosters is still not a particularly good beer, but it is a better beer than the one sold in the UK under the same name.

    On the other hand, I always took the “Reassuringly Expensive” slogan for Stella Artois as a coded way of pointing out its higher alcohol content than many of the other lagers on tap. The alcohol content of that one has dropped a bit since InBev bought it, mainly for reducing the tax take while hoping that drinkers don’t notice it, I think.

  27. Surreptitious Evil

    always took the “Reassuringly Expensive” slogan for Stella Artois as a coded way of pointing out its higher alcohol content than many of the other lagers on tap.

    As opposed to the totally uncoded way it was referred to as “wife beater” by all and sundry?

  28. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Until you’re up around the litre per week of pure ethanol (i.e. 35 pints of 5% ABV beer or 2.5 litres of vodka) you’ve nothing much to worry about. Sure, it might not be very good for you, you probably shouldn’t drive, and your job performance is likely to suffer. But that’s no-one’s business but your own (unless you actually are driving drunk, in which case you’re a moron). Of course it’s only binge drinking if you stop. Ten pints a day, every day, and you should be seriously considering the notion that you have a dependency problem.

    I drank too much – drank to the point where it was an issue. So I stopped. I’m now abstinent. It wasn’t the easiest thing in the world, but it was doable.

  29. As “Rob” says (way upstream) when he refers to the “arms race of fanatics”, letting the zealots set the acceptable limits invariably results in the baby being thrown out with the bathwater as the real problem cases are submerged under the massively larger number of normal individuals.

    6 units in one sitting is binge drinking?? If it is, I live in village almost entirely populated with “binge drinkers”. Chugging down 20 doubles before ending up sitting on the pavement in a mixed pool of your own vomit and urine, that’s proper binge drinking.

  30. I am alarmed that almost two thirds of men have not drunk 3 pints (or equivalent) in a day in the last month.

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