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Record numbers of women dying from alcohol, says report

Appeal: Drinks ‘targeting women’ PICTURE: ALAMY

THE drinking culture in the UK is killing more women than at any time since comparable records began in 2001.

More than 7,500 women died from alcohol-specific causes last year, with thousands more killed indirectly through accidents, violence or other illnesses such as cancer and heart disease.

Campaigners accused the drinks industry of contributing to the figures with marketing and products aimed directly at women.

‘They are trying to represent alcohol as empowering and a badge of equality,’ said Alison Douglas, of Alcohol Focus Scotland. ‘We’ve seen this explosion of artisan gins predominantly aimed at women — pink gins, skinny lagers low in carbs and vegan to appeal to millennial women.’

Scotland had more than 20 deaths per 100,000 people last year, compared with 12 for the rest of the UK, but its rate has fallen by a fifth since 2001, according to the Office for National Statistics report.

Habib Kadiri, of the Institute of Alcohol Studies, praised the aggressive approach of the Scottish government to tackling the issue. ‘[It] has had a strategy for the past ten years or so for dealing with alcohol-related harm,’ he said.

Across the UK 7,697 deaths were directly due to alcohol last year, similar to the highest levels recorded in 2008.