Long-term effects

Drinking more than two standard drinks per day seriously impacts your long-term health and increases your lifetime risk of chronic disease and other health issues. Alcohol has a cumulative effect over a life-time, meaning your past present and future drinking will affect your general health now and in the future. The cumulative effect of alcohol is associated with:
  • cancers
  • cardiovascular disease
  • cirrhosis of the liverHealth long term
  • dependence
  • diabetes
  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • chronic kidney disease
  • high blood pressure
  • obesity
  • cognitive impairment
  • mental health
  • self-harm
Although there is a common belief that small amounts of alcohol protect people from cardiovascular disease and diabetes, the scientific evidence remains debated within the research world. Regardless, the cardiovascular benefits need to be balanced with the fact that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption in relation to cancer. To eliminate the risk of chronic disease, not drinking is the safest option. Try having no more than two standard drinks per day, with two alcohol-free days in a row per week.  
Did you know that the World Health Organisation classifies alcohol a type 1 carcinogen? This means that alcohol causes cancer. In fact, even drinking small amounts of alcohol can increase your risk of mouth, oesophageal, colorectal (bowel) and breast cancer.

Our sources

Information in this section has been drawn from the following sources:
  • Baan, R, Straif, K, Grosse, Y, Screetan, B, El Ghissassi, F, Bouvard V, Altieri A, Cogliano, V, WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer Monograph Working Group, 2007, Carcinogenicity of alcoholic beverages, The Lancet Oncology, vol. 8, 292-293.
  • Dixon HG, Pratt IS, Scully ML, et al. Using a mass media campaign to raise women’s awareness of the link between alcohol and cancer: cross-sectional pre-intervention and post-intervention evaluation surveys. BMJ Open 2015; 5: e006511. doi:10.1136/ bmjopen-2014-006511