How the new drinking guidelines will affect students
It’s bad news for students everywhere.
The start of university is an awkward and tense affair with everyone thrown into the same boat of new people and new surroundings. But thanks to the magical social elixir that is alcohol, the process becomes considerably easier. Fresher’s make best friends for life in their flats and, more often than not, more ‘friends’ out on the dancefloor of a club.
However new guidelines are recommending that the amount of alcohol we are consuming needs decreasing.
The previous guidelines made in 1995 of around 28 units a week for men and 21 for women have been changed as the links between heart disease and cancer are more clear than ever.
The new numbers recommend no more than 14 units for everyone over the course of three days or more, which works out as seven Jäger bombs over the course of a week, although it is also recommended to have alcohol-free days, and not to “save up” units and have them all in one go. That’s going to be a killer for Oceana’s student nights.
In fact, the myth of small amounts of alcohol being good for us has also been busted as the guidelines state “there is no justification for recommending drinking on health grounds – nor for starting drinking for health reasons”, and the review found that only women over the age of 55 found any benefit, and only if they kept underneath five units a week.
They also state that no alcohol should be consumed by pregnant women, and that there is no “safe” amount to drink as it all carries a level of risk, which every Southampton student will know if they’ve ever been to Cafe Parfait.
Reaction to the news in the scientific world has been largely positive. Dr Niamh Fitzgerald, who is a lecturer in alcohol studies at the University of Stirling, said: “Fewer people are aware of evidence linking alcohol consumption with an increased risk of future health problems” and Prof Matt Field, who is a lecturer in addiction at the University of Liverpool agreed, saying “Any amount of drinking is associated with increased risk of a number of diseases.”
However, the chances are that students will not adhere to the new suggestions. First year Business student Jason siad that “they are just guidelines and that, barring alcoholics, everyone knows their own personal limits so it’s quite pointless.”
Similarly Ruth, a second year Zoology student, said: “It’s a good concept to generally raise awareness to the number of units we should be drinking, but as a student I don’t think it would actually impact the amount I went out or the amount I drink” but added “I can comfort myself with the thought that in a couple of years I would drink less”.
Regardless of where you fall on this matter, you’ll still never know how many weeks you’ll cover with the units in one Jesticle.