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Alcoholic Drinks: Health Education

Volume 463: debated on Thursday 19 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many alcohol awareness programmes have been set up in (a) 2007 and (b) the last five years. (150413)

In October 2006 the Government launched the Know Your Limits campaign, the first in the past five years, aimed at binge drinkers.

‘Safe. Sensible. Social. The next steps in the National Alcohol Strategy’ committed the Government to campaign to end the tolerance of drunkenness and raise awareness of the sensible drinking message, specifically how to use units to calculate alcoholic intake. Although neither campaign is due to be launched until 2008, work is currently underway to facilitate this.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps the Government are taking to highlight the dangers of drinking alcohol to adults, particularly amongst the over 60s. (150477)

The Government’s Renewed Alcohol Strategy, ‘Safe, Sensible, Social—Next Steps in the National Alcohol Strategy’ aims to focus future action on reducing the types of harm that are of most concern to the public, by creating an environment that actively promotes sensible drinking and increasing the public’s awareness of the risks associated with excessive consumption and how to get help.

The Government are aware that many adults of all ages do not realise their drinking patterns may be damaging their physical and mental health and may be causing substantial harm to others. A ground-breaking agreement between Government and the alcohol industry to place health information on alcohol product labels will help people to monitor their alcohol intake more easily. This will be supported by a sustained national communications campaign that will raise the public’s knowledge of units of alcohol and ensure that everyone has the information they need to estimate how much they really do drink.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what strategy the Government are taking to inform females, especially younger women, about the risks of binge drinking. (150482)

The Government’s renewed alcohol strategy, ‘Safe. Sensible. Social’. The next steps in the ‘National Alcohol Strategy’, emphasises the need to challenge the binge drinking culture. Sustained national campaigning will challenge public tolerance of drunkenness and drinking that causes harm to health.

From 2008, national campaigning will raise the public’s knowledge of units of alcohol, to ensure that everyone, women and men, has the information they need to assess how much they drink in relation to advice on sensible drinking.

The Government are concerned that young people aged 16-24 years are significantly more likely than people in other age groups to have consumed more than twice the recommended sensible drinking limit.

The Know Your Limits campaign, launched by the Government in October 2006, provides a range of advice to women on how to remain safe if they find themselves in vulnerable situations as a result of having consumed too much alcohol. In addition, the Government have recently issued revised advice informing women of the risks posed by excessive alcohol consumption during pregnancy and for women hoping to conceive.