Over-45s are more likely to drink every day, but less likely to binge

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People over 45 are three times more likely to drink almost every day as those who are younger, according to new figures.

Some 13 per cent of adults over 45 drink practically every day throughout the year compared with four per cent of those under 45, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows.

And as people get older they tend to drink more – with 22 per cent of men aged 65 and over drinking almost every day compared with three per cent of men aged 16 to 24.

Among women, 12 per cent of over-65s consume alcohol almost every day compared with one per cent of those aged 16 to 24.

However, the survey for 2010 found younger age groups are more likely to binge drink.

Almost a quarter (24 per cent) of men aged 16 to 24 admit drinking more than eight units of alcohol in a single day, as do 25 per cent of those aged 25 to 44.

This compares with 20 per cent of men aged 45 to 64 and seven per cent of those aged 65 and over.

Among women, 17 per cent of those aged 16 to 24 admit drinking more than six units of alcohol in a single day, as do 19 per cent of those aged 25 to 44. But this drops to 11 per cent of women aged 45 to 64 and and two per cent of those aged 65 and over.

Overall, more than half (54 per cent) of adults admitted drinking alcohol at least once a week, with 26 per cent drinking at least twice a week.

One in six adults interviewed said they had drank heavily on at least one day in the week before.

But average weekly alcohol consumption has fallen in recent years, from 14.3 units per adult in 2005 to 11.5 units in 2010.

Government recommendations are for men not to regularly exceed three or four units of alcohol a day and for women not to go over two to three units.

The data shows 36 per cent of men exceeding four units on at least one day in the week before interview, while 28 per cent of women said they consumed more than three units.

Today’s report also found that 20 per cent of people in the UK smoke, down from 45 per cent in 1974. But there has been a “substantial increase” in the proportion of smokers who smoke mainly hand-rolled tobacco.

In 2010, 39 per cent of male smokers rolled their own compared with 18 per cent in 1990.

Among women, in 2010, 23 per cent of smokers rolled their own compared to only 2 per cent in 1990. The data is based on data from more than 13,300 adults in the UK.