Editor's note

Since I stopped drinking a few years ago I’ve noticed a change not only in the types of alcohol-free drinks available, but also in people’s attitudes. Gone are the lime and sodas and the diet cokes, to be replaced with alcohol-free craft beers, speciality spirits and de-alcoholised wines. Gone too are the comments and questions as to why I’m not drinking tonight, and it’s now pretty much accepted that not everyone wants to get drunk.

It’s clear attitudes to alcohol are changing, young people across the UK are drinking less, and globally, there’s been a rise of “positive sobriety” or “mindful drinking” movements. But while many people are developing “healthier” relationships with alcohol, this isn’t the case for everyone.

Baby boomers, in particular, are still the most likely generation to drink heavily and the least likely to abstain from alcohol. Baby boomers, those in the 55-64 age group, are also now the most likely to be admitted to hospital because of alcohol-related diseases and injuries – and it’s creating a “polarisation” in generational drinking habits. So while it might not be the end of “booze Britain” just yet, for the younger generations at least, it seems as though things are heading in the right direction.

We also look at why fossil fuel drilling could be heating up the planet from within, and question why some people have, like, such a problem with the word “like”.

Meanwhile, as the UK government ordered urgent action to stem a rise in measles cases, check out the first of our global special round-ups, which focuses on the issue of vaccines and anti-vaxxers. Written by Heather Walmsley, a Conversation Health Editor based in Canada, it points to content produced across The Conversation’s international network.

Holly Squire

Commissioning Editor

Top stories


Baby boomers are keeping booze Britain afloat – but the young are drinking less

Emily Nicholls, University of Portsmouth

Young people are going teetotal but older generations are failing to follow in their sober footsteps.

Robert Lucian Crusitu/Shutterstock

Fossil fuel drilling could be contributing to climate change by heating Earth from within

Rizwan Nawaz, University of Leeds; Adel Sharif, University of Surrey

Fossil fuels are heating the atmosphere – but the fact that we're burning them may not be the only reason.

Use it at your peril. Shutterstock

‘Like’ isn’t a lazy linguistic filler – the English language snobs need to, like, pipe down

Rebecca Woods, University of Huddersfield

The word 'like' has a grammar, and by looking at it, we can learn a lot about what 'like' means and what it contributes to someone’s speech.

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