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Young adults ignore binge drinking warnings

London, 23 October 2012

  • 33% of alcoholic spirit drinkers believe that government guidelines on responsible drinking are exaggerated
  • This attitude is most apparent among 18-24 year olds, with 48% believing this

Research conducted by Canadean Consumer shows that alcoholic spirit drinkers are ignoring government guidelines on responsible drinking, with a third believing such claims are exaggerated. This attitude is particularly apparent among young adults, and highlights how attempts to promote responsible drinking among this generation is failing

Despite national campaigns by the government to educate young adults on the dangers of binge drinking, it would appear that many people are ignoring such warnings when consuming the strongest alcoholic beverages. A survey of 1,095 UK spirit consumers by Canadean Consumer found that 33% believe that government guidelines on daily recommended levels of alcohol consumption for health reasons are exaggerated. Moreover, there is a direct correlation between age and having this attitude, with those aged 18-24 years old the most likely (48%) to believe this, and those aged 55+ (25%) the least.

Unsurprisingly Canadean’s research shows that those aged 18-24 are also the most likely to drink five or more alcoholic beverages on a night out on a Friday and Saturday. Michael Hughes, Research Manager at Canadean Consumer states “despite government attempts to curb excessive drinking, it would appear such campaigns are falling on deaf ears. The fact that such a high proportion of young adults who drink high strength spirits believe such warnings to be exaggerated shows that the cost to the state dealing with the consequences of excessive alcohol consumption will continue to increase both in the short-term and the long-term”.

Hughes continues “the results show a lack of understanding among consumers about the health implications of binge drinking and a lack of awareness about recommended levels of alcohol intake. Younger adults need to be aware that such attitudes may have long-term effects on their health and shows that the industry needs to do more to promote responsible drinking”.

As MPs and health groups continue to push for tighter controls on the activities of alcoholic beverage manufacturers, greater attempts need to be made by manufacturers to push the message of responsible drinking, to reduce the chances of governments imposing restrictions on their activities in order to get their message through to drinkers.

Figure 1: Proportion of UK spirit drinkers who “agree” or “strongly agree” with the statement “government guidelines on daily recommended levels of alcohol consumption for health reasons are exaggerated” (% UK respondents, by age, n = 1,095) 2012.

Young adults ignore binge drinking warnings

Source: Canadean © Canadean

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