DDN_May_2024 DDN May 2024 | Page 4


Alcohol deaths highest ever cdn . smokefreeaction . org . uk

There were just over 10,000 deaths from alcohol specific causes registered in the UK in 2022 , according to the latest figures from ONS – the highest number on record . The 10,048 figure was just over 4 per cent up on the previous year , but almost 33 per cent higher than in 2019 – the last pre-COVID year . Rates of alcohol-specific deaths had remained broadly stable between 2012 and 2019 , ONS points out .

Alcohol-specific death rates only include deaths from causes ‘ wholly attributable ’ to alcohol , such as alcoholic liver disease . ‘ It does not include all deaths that can be attributed to alcohol ,’ ONS points out , such as heart disease and various cancers . As in previous years the highest rate of alcohol-specific deaths in England was in the North East , at 21.8 deaths per 100,000 people . Scotland and Northern Ireland had the highest country rates , at 22.6 and 19.5 per 100,000 respectively . Compared to 2019 there have been ‘ statistically significant increases in the alcohol-specific death rate in England , Wales and Scotland ’, ONS points out . Again , as in previous years , the overall alcoholspecific death rate for men was twice that for women . However , the death rate for women also increased by almost 6 per cent between 2021 and 2022 .
The Alcohol Health Alliance has issued a call for mandatory health labelling on alcohol , a commitment to long-term funding of early intervention and treatment and tougher marketing regulations . ‘ We are in the midst of a public health crisis and the lack of government action to prevent the lives lost and resulting devastation for families , friends and communities is a shameful failure in public policy ,’ said alliance chair Professor Sir Ian Gilmore . ‘ As the death toll reaches record levels , so do the profits of the multibillion-pound drinks industry . The warning sirens are ringing , and whichever party forms the government at the next election must prepare to step up with a comprehensive alcohol strategy . This must include restrictions on marketing , availability and pricing – all of which are proven to reduce the harm caused by alcohol .’
Meanwhile , the Scottish Parliament has approved plans to continue with MUP , and to

MPs vote for smoking ban

THE GOVERNMENT ’ S PLAN TO INTRODUCE LEGISLATION that would create a ‘ smoke-free generation ’ moved a step closer to reality after MPs voted 383 to 67 in favour of the tobacco and vapes bill at its second reading .
The legislation would raise the age at which anyone can legally smoke by one year each year to ‘ prevent future generations from ever taking up smoking ’, while anyone born before 1 January 2009 will be able to continue legally buying cigarettes and other tobacco products .
The bill would also introduce restrictions on the packaging and flavouring of vaping products to make them less attractive to children . ‘ While vaping can play a useful role in helping adult smokers to quit , non-smokers and children should never vape ,’ said DHSC .
‘ We are in the midst of a public health crisis and the lack of government action ... is a shameful failure in public policy .’
increase the rate by 15p . When the legislation was introduced in 2018 it was subject to a ‘ sunset clause ’, which meant that it would expire last month unless MSPs voted to retain it . The vote was passed by 88 votes to 18 , with the rate now set to rise from 50p per unit to 65p from September to ‘ counteract the effects of inflation ’.
Alcohol-specific deaths in the UK : registered in 2022 at www . ons . gov . uk

London rough sleeping up by a third

THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE SLEEPING ROUGH in London increased by 33 per cent in the first quarter of this year , according to Combined Homelessness and Information Network ( CHAIN ) figures . There were 4,118 people recorded as sleeping rough , almost half of whom were sleeping rough for the first time .
The latest statistics from the Department for Levelling Up , Housing and Communities also show almost 80,000 households in England either homeless or at risk of homelessness in the final quarter of 2023 , an increase of almost 9 per cent on the previous year . openaccessgovernment . org