Drinking a bit more has serious effects

People who choose to drink slightly more than the lower-risk alcohol guidelines could find that the decision to do so has serious consequences. A new Change4Life campaign is warning individuals that imbibing even just a little more than the suggested amount can impact long-term health.

The scheme includes television adverts demonstrating that having two large glasses of wine or two strong pints a day, on a regular basis, serves to triple the likelihood of suffering from mouth cancer.

In addition, such consumption - which is typically practiced by more than nine million drinkers in England - can double the risk of developing high blood pressure.

Secretary of State Andrew Lansley, who is also MP for South Cambridgeshire, said it is vital that people in Britain understand the effect alcohol can have, adding: "It can be easy to slip into the habit of having a few extra drinks each day, especially when drinking at home. But there can be serious health risks."

Dr Martin Hagger, a Chartered Psychologist and Health Psychologist of Curtin University, Perth, Australia, said: "There are serious risks involved in exceeding guidelines limits for alcohol, and any initiative that can successfully persuade regular drinkers to cut down on their drinking, or keep it in check, is going to be of benefit to health.

"However, the messages should avoid being too confrontational or judgemental as that often leads to psychological 'reactance' and turn people from the message. The message should focus on the immediate benefits of reducing drinking and provide simple, practical ways that people can keep their drinking in check."