British men drink twice as much alcohol as women, official figures showed Tuesday, with professionals downing the most booze.
Men sink an average of 18.7 units per week, while women drink nine, said the Office for National Statistics (ONS), using data from its 2006 General Household Survey of around 16,500 homes.
AdvertisementOne unit of alcohol is equivalent to a one measure of spirits, a small glass of wine or half a pint of ordinary strength beer.
Men and women in homes classed as managerial level or professional drink the most at 15.1 units per week.
People from households classed as manual, drink an average 11.6 units per week.
Average alcohol consumption was higher in England (13.7 units a week) than Wales (13.5 units) and Scotland (11.6 units).
The ONS also found that 22 percent of people aged 16 and over smoked -- the lowest level ever recorded.
Men smoke an average 15 cigarettes per day compared to women at 13 a day, while 68 percent said they wanted to give up.
The figures -- the first to use a new assessment which takes into account stronger drinks and larger measures -- suggest that overall alcohol consumption could be dwindling.
Using the old system, the proportion of men drinking more than the recommended upper limit of 21 units per week fell from 29 percent in 2000 to 23 percent in 2006.
The recommended limit for women is 14 units per week. The proportion exceeding it fell from 17 percent in 2000 to 12 percent in 2006.
"There is still a long way to go to eradicate the problems caused by alcohol misuse which remain deeply embedded in our culture," said David Poley, chief executive of the Portman Group, which is funded by Britain's drinks industry to promote responsible alcoholic consumption.
"But the evidence suggests that the sensible drinking message is getting through to people."
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