Scottish drinkers less likely than English to join in ‘Dry January’

Scottish drinkers are less likely than English to take part in 'Dry January'
Scottish drinkers are less likely than English to take part in 'Dry January'
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Scots drinkers are half as likely as their English counterparts to take part in Dry January next month.

A YouGov poll commissioned by charity Alcohol Concern shows that only 3 per cent of people north of the Border are planning to give up alcohol for a month compared to 6 per cent in England.

A total of 3.1 million people UK-wide say they will ditch booze for a month, with Northern Ireland at 10 per cent having the highest percentage of would be teetotallers.

Dry January was started by Alcohol Concern in 2013 and aims to make people feel healthier, save money and re-set their relationship with alcohol.

Alcohol-linked deaths in Scotland are 54 per cent higher than in England and Wales.

In 2016, the equivalent of 10.5 litres of pure alcohol was sold per adult in Scotland, representing 20.2 units for each individual every week.

Following the ruling by the Supreme Court last month, the Scottish Government will bring in minimum unit pricing from May next year.

Aileen Campbell, Minister for Public Health and Sport, said: “We would encourage everyone to drink responsibly.

“While progress has been made in tackling alcohol misuse – including the quantity discount ban, a ban on irresponsible promotions, a lower drink drive limit and our nationwide alcohol brief intervention programme – we’re determined to go further.

“That’s why we are taking forward minimum unit pricing to be implemented from May 2018.

“We will be refreshing our Alcohol Strategy shortly, providing an opportunity to further consider any additional actions and steps needed to tackle alcohol-related harm in Scotland.”

Official guidelines advise against men and women drinking more than 14 units a week on a regular basis.

Two-thirds of people who attempt Dry January make it through the month without drinking, while 72 per cent maintain lower levels of harmful drinking than before Dry January six months later.

The group most likely be planning to do Dry January this year are those with children aged 12-16, as well as those with three or more children in their household. Dr Richard Piper, chief executive of Alcohol Concern, said: “Dry January is a national campaign which changes lives, giving people the impetus and support they need to re-set their relationship with alcohol for January and beyond.

“The benefits are astounding: 49 per cent of people lose weight, while 62 per cent sleep better and a whopping 79 per cent save money.” He added: “Alcohol is the biggest cause of death, ill-health and disability for people aged 15-49 in the UK – but these tragedies are all totally avoidable.

“Dry January is growing year-on-year as more people across the country decide to take control of their drinking and reap the benefits.”