The NHS should steer clear of expressions such as "binge drinking" and focus on consumption levels instead, the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has warned.
Nick Bish, ALMR chief executive, branded the jargon as "unfair" and said it "demonised" the majority of sensible drinkers.
The health service defines binge drinking as eight units for men six for women. A large glass of wine contains three units and pint of average strength beer two.
But Bish said enjoying a few pints or a couple of glasses of wine with friends should not qualify someone a "binge drinker".
"Excessive consumption is of course an issue and the counting of units is a helpful measurement but 'binge drinking' is clearly a term associated with drunkenness and antisocial behaviour," he said.
"We'd like the health professionals to focus on suggested consumption levels while avoiding jargon expressions that are unhelpful and ultimately meaningless."
By Helen Gilbert
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