The number of men seeking corrective surgery for "man boobs", or "moobs" is expected to hit a record high, according to a new report. Drug specialists are also reporting a rise in the number of young men turning to the illegal use of anabolic steroids to improve their physique.
New figures from the British Association of Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, due to be published on Monday, are reported to show the number of men opting for breast-reduction procedures last year rose by nearly half. In the space of five years, the figure has increased from 22 operations in 2003 to 224 in 227.
The Government's official advisers on drugs have noted that anabolic steroids are becoming popular among non-traditional drug-users keen to improve their physique, rather than just athletes. Although not illegal to possess, possession with intent to supply is illegal, carrying a maximum 14-year jail term.
Latest estimates from the British Crime Survey suggest that 179,000 people aged 16-59 have used anabolic steroids but Professor Iverson has previously said the figure might be more than 200,000. Mike Linnell, of the Lifeline drugs charity in Manchester, said that needle-exchange projects are reporting rising numbers of men injecting steroids for cosmetic reasons.
He said: "What we have seen over the last two years is a growth in people who are not drug-users in the traditional sense. They are coming in because they used anabolic steroids because they wanted to look good. It is all about image, about looking good. This is now right across the board."