Cheaper to get drunk than go to the cinema say UK’s young people
Monday 19 November 2012
Cheap alcohol and the way it is promoted encourages excessive drinking, according to one thousand 16 -24 year olds surveyed by Alcohol Concern and Balance ahead of Alcohol Awareness Week.
The survey is part of a new report, 'Binge - Drinking to get drunk: Influences on young adult drinking behaviours,' published today, which looks at young people's relationship with alcohol. Those surveyed agreed that 'drinking to get drunk' is the defining feature of how young people relate to alcohol.
Seven out of ten said that the difference in the price of alcohol bought from pubs and bars compared with off-licences influences how people drink. They also agreed that the way alcohol is promoted encourages excessive consumption, with young people reporting that it is often cheaper to buy a three litre bottle of cider than buy a ticket to go to the cinema.
Tom Smith, Programme Policy Manager, Alcohol Concern said:"This report is further proof of the impact cheap alcohol is having on the health and wellbeing of our young people. "They have told us loud and clear that the way in which alcohol is priced influences the way they drink. We also know that our young people are more likely to have experienced being drunk by the age of 13 than their peers in almost any other European country.
"This survey shows just how urgent action on Minimum Unit Pricing is and we're calling on the Government to set a 50p minimum unit price without delay."
The report shows that alcohol is now 44% more affordable today, in relative terms, than it was in 1980 and that there has been a 25% growth in the number of off-licensed premises, increasing the easy availability of cheap alcohol.
Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, said:
"Although more young people are choosing not to drink, there are still too many who drink to excess. Alcohol is too affordable, too available and too heavily promoted, encouraging young people to drink from an early age.
"Government needs to set a minimum unit price of at least 50p. This would increase the price of the cheapest, strongest alcohol, such as strong white cider, protecting vulnerable younger and heavier drinkers who are more likely to drink cheap alcohol and suffer the consequences. The measure will save lives, reduce hospital admissions, cut crime and protect young people. We believe it's a small price to pay."
Research has already shown that a minimum unit price of 50p would reduce consumption per 11-18 year old drinker by 7.3%. It won't affect the price of a pint in the pub and will only cost a moderate drinker an extra 28p each week.
The report is published as Alcohol Concern launches Alcohol Awareness Week with the theme 'it's time to talk about drinking'. The charity says it is clear that as a nation we love talking about alcohol, but asks whether we are having the right conversations.
Launching the awareness week Eric Appleby, Chief Executive, Alcohol Concern said:
"Having open and frank conversations as a society about the way we drink has never been more important and this report highlights that.
"We know that as a nation we love talking about alcohol and we all have an opinion about it, but are we having the right conversations? We've really got to get this right for the sake of future generations. I hope people will embrace this opportunity to get talking and thinking about their drinking."
Calls for a minimum unit price and Alcohol Awareness Week are just two of the ways in which Alcohol Concern is working to raise awareness of, and reduce the harm caused by alcohol misuse.
Earlier this month the charity launched its awareness raising campaign, Dry January. It challenges people to sign up and try going dry this January, to think about their drinking and share their experiences of going booze free online through Facebook and Twitter.
Emma Conroy, Alcohol Concern, 020 75669803 / email@example.com
Notes to Editors
Alcohol Awareness Week runs from the 19th to the 25th November. Use #AlcoholAware2012 on Twitter.
"Binge - Drinking to get drunk: Influences on young adult drinking behaviours" is a report by Alcohol Concern and Balance, the North East Alcohol Office.
Key findings include:
- Young people aged 15 to 16 years in the UK are more likely than those in almost any other country to have been drunk at least once in the last month and are more likely to have experienced being drunk by the age of 13.
- 69% of 16 - 24 year olds agreed or strongly agreed the price of alcohol bought from pubs and bars compared with off licences influences how people drink.
- 63% of 16 - 24 year olds agreed or strongly agreed cheap alcohol promotions encourage 'drinking to get drunk'.
- 61% of 16 - 24 year olds agreed or strongly agreed advertising which associates consuming alcohol with having fun influences expectations of drinking or being drunk.
To find out more and sign up to be part of Dry January go to www.dryjanaury.org.uk. Look for Dry January on Facebook and Twitter.