a1 Link 5Z, Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Prescot Street, Liverpool L78XP, UK. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alcohol is an important part of European culture and Europe currently has the world’s heaviest alcohol consumption. There is some evidence for harmonisation of drinking habits across Europe, particularly in the total per capita consumption, types of beverage and frequency of teenage drunkenness. As part of this pattern, increasing consumption and deleterious health effects have been particularly noticeable in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and deaths from cirrhosis in these countries now exceed EU averages. This is a difficult area for Governments where the tension between regulation and personal choice is conspicuous and widely debated. In the UK, regulation has been weak but there are signs that the appetite for tackling the twin drivers of price and availability may be increasing.