It is “absolutely fine” to skip rounds and take a soft drink, Sir Harry Burns said in a message aimed at people gearing up for Hogmanay celebrations.
“There are simply too many people across Scotland drinking too much alcohol and putting their health at risk,” he said.
“You shouldn’t think this happens only to other people. Alcohol misuse affects people across society.
“There’s nothing wrong with having a drink, as long as it’s done safely and not to excess.”
People should eat a meal before heading out and keep track of what they are drinking, he advised.
“Cocktails and generous home-pours can contain much more alcohol that you might think,” he said.
“Missing a round of drinks is absolutely fine. It’s good to be sociable but don’t let others dictate your pace. You don’t need to drink alcohol throughout the night. Having a soft drink or a glass of water will help you feel much better in the morning and let you enjoy the festivities until much later.
“Many people will be setting themselves the challenge to lose weight or to become healthier next year. One of the easiest ways to achieve both is to cut back on the how much and how often you drink. Small changes in your alcohol consumption will make a big difference to your health at the end of 2014.”
“I want everyone to enjoy Hogmanay and remind them this can be done without drinking too much. Keep warm, keep safe and remember if you are planning to drive the next morning, be very careful the night before.”