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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Home Drinking in the UK: Trends and Causes

To explore the trend in the UK to consume alcohol at home rather than at licensed premises.

A Medline search entering the terms ‘home drinking’, ‘alcohol’ and ‘adult’ covering the period 2000–2011yielded 48 articles, of which 6 met the criteria to be included in the review. Grey literature including survey and market research data were reviewed.

In the UK, since 1970 there has been trend for beer to be consumed at home more often than in licensed premises and that the overall trend towards greater home drinking has increased since 2000. The main reasons given are convenience, cost, safety, autonomy and stress relief. There has also been an increase in the practice known as ‘pre-loading’ (drinking before going out). Adults who drink mainly at home report that they are aware that they run a risk of higher overall alcohol consumption but tend to play down the possibility that increased consumption may lead to longer-term harm.

Home drinking trends may have long-term public health consequences. Greater understanding of the drivers of this trend will help policy-makers to respond to these societal changes.

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