A FORMER Scots nurse has invented a glass design that shows drinkers the number of units they are downing in an attempt to cut down on the nation’s binge drinking culture.
John Sharp, 57, came up with the design, which can be printed on wine, beer and spirit glasses to provide a visual of how much booze is being consumed.
Sharp, now a councillor for Moray Council, has successfully patented the product, which could become a regular sight in bars across Scotland.
He said: “It became apparent to me that alcohol is measured in units, but nobody really knows what a unit is.
“There are no glasses available that actually measure units so I began to investigate.”Sharp used a formula to work out how many units there were in different kinds of drinks, and then designed various glasses with markers to indicate how many units where in each.
He patented the designs for eight glasses, and hopes that the government and pressure groups will aid him in promoting the products.
He said: “The Scottish Government has been very supportive.
“People will become more aware of it but that might take a long time.
“But there could be fairly vested interests against such an idea by drinks producers and those who make and sell alcohol, because that’s their business.”
Professor Grant Cumming, who is heading up NHS Grampian’s new e-space website to raise public health awareness, said the simple idea could bring significant results.
He said: “The idea is brilliant, what you’re doing is graphically seeing how much you’re drinking.
“The big problem is looking at the long-term conditions.
“We’re not trying to hit the problem drinkers, it’s the people who are probably just drinking a little bit too much.
“We’ve got to do something, because as taxpayers we can’t afford it.
“The whole thing is about modifying behaviour, it’s gently nudging our behaviour, it’s just making you think a bit more – it’s a simple as that.”
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “Studies have shown that while many people know that the daily unit guidelines are three to four for men and two to three for woman, they find it hard to relate that to their own drinking.
“Anything which helps people keep track of how much they are drinking must be a good thing.”
Jack Law, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, said: “Through our engagement with people, we know that there is a limited understanding of what a unit of alcohol actually means in terms of a drink.
“People think that a glass of wine is one unit of alcohol, but of course this depends on the strength of the wine and the size of the glass.
“Any work or initiative that helps everyone to understand the connection between units and drinks is welcome.”
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