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alcohol health alliance uk
Dr Sarah Louden

Dr Sarah Louden


Warning over worrying new alcohol figures

Worrying new figures highlighting over three quarters of a million hospital admissions from alcohol during the height of the pandemic, show that we need to look after ourselves this spring. That is the message from health campaigners in the North East as pubs reopen outdoors from Monday.

It comes as alarming new figures from NHS Digital show over three quarters of a million alcohol-related hospital admissions between April and December last year - over 100 an hour - with three quarters of them (587,501) involving patients over the age of 50. See

Fresh and Balance – the North East’s tobacco and alcohol harm prevention programmes – are encouraging people to stay healthy and safe and avoid potential pitfalls of more regular drinking or smoking which can weaken the immune system and harm physical and mental health.

The Covid pandemic has brought huge pressures and while 2020 saw a surge in smokers quitting (1) and some people cutting down on alcohol, the same pressures led to over 8m people drinking at risky levels in 2020 (2). A survey by Balance also found that nearly half (44%) of drinkers who were drinking more since Covid felt worse as a result.(3)

Easing of Covid restrictions, from outdoor socialising to pubs re-opening, can bring with them their own temptations and risks:

• More regular binge drinking can harm our health, make us feel more tired and depressed, weaken the immune system and lead to weight gain.
• If you’ve quit smoking, drinking outdoors with your friends can risk breaking your resolve and put you in situations where you feel tempted to smoke.
• People who both smoke and drink have a higher risk of mouth and throat cancer. 
• Both alcohol and tobacco are linked with a higher risk of cancer, heart attack and stroke and can worsen stress and anxiety.

Read more here.