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Cancer: Alcoholic Drinks

Volume 487: debated on Monday 26 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the national communication campaign to improve the public’s understanding of units of alcohol in relation to cancer risk factors; and how much longer he expects the campaign to continue. (248456)

The national communications campaign to improve the public’s understanding of units of alcohol, launched in May 2008, featured two phases. The campaign messages were delivered across television, press, outdoor, radio and online channels. Phase 1 focused on improving people’s knowledge of how many units of alcohol are in the alcoholic drinks they consume, while phase 2 focused on improving people’s understanding of the link between their alcohol consumption and their health.

Initial assessment of the campaign shows that there is an increased agreement, from 77 to 82 per cent. that we tend to drink more than is good for us. This has clearly been influenced by the campaign as for those aware of the campaign, this figure rises to 85 per cent., while for those not aware of the campaign, this figure is 72 per cent.

The second wave of campaign tracking will be available shortly and may provide more information on how the campaign has improved the public’s understanding of alcohol-related health risks.

We intend that this campaign should be sustained over a number of years. The units campaign will continue in 2009-10, with the key tasks to optimise the units messaging and to communicate the health harms associated with drinking to higher risk groups.