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Alcohol deaths rise in young women

There has been a 'worrying' increase in alcohol-related deaths among young women in England and Scotland, research has shown. 

Researchers compared alcohol-related deaths in Glasgow, Manchester and Liverpool from 1980 to 2011, and found “disproportionate” increases in women born between 1970 and 1979. 

However, alcohol-related deaths decreased in all other age groups. 

The researchers believe minimum unit pricing will help, but won't address the “deep rooted cultural influences at play”. 

Increased affordability and availability of alcohol, combined with effective marketing have undoubtedly played their part, the authors said.

Co-author Dr Deborah Shipton from the Glasgow Centre for Population Health said: “The similarity of trends in alcohol related deaths in young women in Glasgow, Manchester, and Liverpool raises real concerns for the long term health of this cohort in both England and Scotland.

“It is hard to dismiss this as a city-specific phenomenon…It is imperative that this early warning sign is acted upon. Failure to have a policy response to this new trend may result in the effects of this increase being played out for decades to come.”

Similar age trends were shown across all three cities, with the highest proportion of alcohol related deaths among men and women in their 40s and 50s.

Alcohol related deaths were two to three times as high among men as among women in all three cities. However, there was no evidence that alcohol related deaths in women lagged behind those of men—unlike smoking.

The government is currently consulting on whether to introduce minimum alcohol pricing in England and Wales.

But Scotland has committed to introducing the measure, which will increase the cost of alcohol by pricing it per unit. 

The research, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health is available to view online.