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Alcoholic Drinks: Health Education

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 11 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps have been taken to increase awareness of safe drinking levels and the health risks associated with alcohol dependency amongst (a) adults aged over 45 years and (b) young people under 18 years living in the North East. (255313)

It is the responsibility of primary care trusts (PCTs) to take forward initiatives and campaigns to increase awareness of lower risk drinking levels and the health risks associated with alcohol dependency in their areas. Information on action taken in the North East can be obtained from PCTs across the North East directly.

However, in May 2008 the Department launched a national communications campaign to improve the public’s understanding of units of alcohol. The campaign messages were delivered across television, newspapers, outdoor, radio and on-line channels. Phase one focused on improving people’s knowledge of how many units of alcohol are in the alcoholic drinks they consume, while phase two 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 77-82 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.