Wine, beer and spirits drinkers who remain largely unsure of how many drinks make up the recommended weekly alcohol unit guideline are encouraged to Count 14 by NHS Western Isles.

People who have looked to reduce their alcohol intake in January are being urged to Count 14 in February, and beyond, to keep the risks from alcohol consumption low – with the campaign providing an easy guide to what 14 units actually looks like for a range of different alcoholic drinks.

Only 15 per cent of beer, lager and cider drinkers in Scotland were able to correctly identify that six pints equals 14 units, with 16 per cent of wine drinkers knowing 14 units equated to six medium glasses of wine.

Almost a quarter (24 per cent) of those who drink spirits regularly knew seven double measures added up to the recommended maximum unit guideline.

Of those who drink wine, beer, or spirits, many simply answered ‘don’t know’ when asked how many of each drink made up 14 units (17 per cent, 13 per cent and 28 per cent respectively).

The Scottish Government’s Count 14 campaign, backed by NHS Western Isles, aims to help people understand how their weekly drinking adds up.

NHS Western Isles Director of Public Health, Dr Maggie Watts, said: “NHS Western Isles supports this campaign to increase awareness of current guidelines around alcohol consumption and promote a more considered approach to drinking alcohol.

“Changing your alcohol use can help to reduce your health risks. If you intend to drink you should drink no more than 14 units a week on a regular basis, making sure you spread your drinking over three or more days and that you have three or more alcohol-free days each week. If you are concerned about your drinking, talk to your GP or a health professional.”

Figures released last year highlighted that in 2018, Scots bought enough alcohol for every adult to drink 19 units of alcohol per week, meaning that, on average, every adult in Scotland is drinking 36 per cent more than the lower risk guidelines.

Scotland’s Alcohol Framework 2018: Preventing Harm was launched in November 2018 which set out the Scottish Government’s national prevention aims on alcohol.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood said: “The alcohol guidelines are based on the clear evidence that as alcohol use increases, so does the risk of a range of health harms. To keep these risks low it’s recommended that men and women don’t drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis. 

“The 14 unit guideline equates to six pints of medium strength beer, lager or cider; six medium glasses of wine or seven double measures of spirits over the course of a week.

“By increasing understanding of what this means in terms of actual alcoholic drinks, our hope is that adults in Scotland are able to make more informed choices.”

For further information on the guidelines visit count14.scot

A unit is the best way to describe the quantity of pure alcohol in a drink. Fourteen units is the equivalent of:

Six pints of medium strength beer, lager or cider (4 per cent ABV, 568ml)

Six medium glasses of wine (13 per cent ABV, 175ml

Seven double measures of spirits (40 per cent ABV, 50ml)