Press release: As part of Men’s Health Week, AAI urges men to ‘know your numbers’ around alcohol

A majority of drinkers in Ireland consume alcohol in a manner that is risky to their health

On the first day of Men’s Health Week 2024, Alcohol Action Ireland is urging men across the country to ‘know your numbers’ around their alcohol consumption. Health harm from alcohol is caused not only by the amount of times alcohol is consumed but also by patterns of drinking such as heavy and/or binge drinking. Hazardous drinking increases the likelihood of poisoning, accidents, or falls as well as alcohol-related conditions such as cancer and heart disease.

AAI CEO Dr Sheila Gilheany said: “Alcohol has major public health implications in Ireland due to our high levels of consumption and the fact that heavy episodic drinking, or binge drinking, is commonplace. Alcohol is a causal factor in more than 200 disease and injury conditions according to the World Health Organisation, and a majority of drinkers in Ireland consume alcohol in a manner that is risky to their health. In 2021, the most recent stats available,18,877 people were hospitalised in Ireland due to wholly alcohol-related conditions.”

Binge drinking is defined as consuming six or more standard drinks on a single occasion, while the HSE’s low-risk weekly alcohol guideline for men is 17 standard drinks spread out over the course of a week, with two to three alcohol-free days. A standard drink is the equivalent of a half pint of average strength lager or stout, 100ml of wine, or a pub measure of spirits.

Some other numbers to highlight around health harms caused by alcohol are 200 – roughly the amount of calories in a pint – and 1 – that alcohol is classified as a group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as there is a proven, causal link between alcohol and several types of cancer. In 2020 there were approximately 1,000 alcohol related cancer cases in Ireland, which were more common in men (670 cases) than women (380). 

Dr Gilheany continued: “The link between alcohol and cancer is well established and Ireland is leading the way on the world stage to highlight this with the introduction of cancer warning labels on alcoholic products from May 2026. However, there is still a lot of time between now and then, and people are still unaware about the risks they face when drinking alcohol. On Men’s Health Week, we call on men around the country to ‘know your numbers’ around their alcohol consumption.”



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Other useful resources:  

Media guide re non-stigmatising language