Government Launches Alcohol Abuse Ads

The Department of Health is launching the first stage of a £10m drive to tackle binge drinking with a TV campaign about the units of alcohol in different drinks.

Different TV ads in the campaign, which break tonight, will target male and female drinkers.

The public health minister, Dawn Primarolo, said that the “Know Your Limits” campaign was the biggest awareness drive the DoH has launched to date.

The TV ads, created by ad agency VCCP, will be backed by a radio, billboard and press campaign that will show the number of units in individual drinks.

These ads show close-ups of drinks including lager, wine and Guinness as well as different measures, including large and small glasses and full bottles of wine.

The campaign has been launched following research by YouGov that showed that 82% of drinkers claim to know what a unit of alcohol is.

However, the study found that 77% did not know how many units are in a typical large glass of wine.

“Glass sizes have grown larger and the strength of many wines and beers has increased,” said Primarolo.

“This campaign is all about helping people understand how many units are in their favourite drinks, and helping them to keep an eye on their intake for the good of their long-term health.”

The daily alcohol intake guideline for women is two to three units, while that for men is three to four.

YouGov’s poll found that 64% of women knew the recommended limit, but only half of men did.

Unit awareness appears to get worse with age, according to the poll.

While 32% of drinkers aged 18 to 24 knew the amount of units in a large glass of wine, only 18% of over-55s did.

The DoH’s binge drinking campaign has a £6m budget for 2008 and 2009. It will be followed by a £4m campaign from the Home Office next month.