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Campaigners urge North East drinkers to have an empty glass

A new campaign, urging people to take more days off drinking, is being backed by Balance, the North East alcohol office.

It follows a survey which found 60% were tempted to drink most nights.

Balance want drinkers to stay below the low risk guidelines.

Director Colin Shevills tells Sun FM what they are:

Dry January may have finished, but drinkers in the North East are being encouraged to take more days off.

Over 70% say they find one drink just isn't enough.

Public Health England are encouraging people to take at least 2 or 3 days off and reducing the risks of an alcohol related disease.

Colin hopes some will continue the good work they started last month.

People are being encouraged to visit the ReduceMyRisk.tv website to download the One You Days Off app to help them cut down, feel healthier, lose weight and save money.

The results of an online survey by Balance revealed that:


  • 60% (5,566 respondents) said they find themselves tempted to pour a drink most nights.
  • 44% (3,714 respondents) admitted that a friend or family member has suggested they might be drinking too much.
  • 48% (4,213 respondents) admitted their behaviour changes after a drink.
  • 71% (5,958 respondents) admitted they find that one drink just isn't enough.

Bev Oliver, Health and Wellbeing Programme Lead at Public Health England North East, said:

"It can be easy to fall into the habit of drinking regularly and the occasional glass in the evening can quickly become 2 or 3 glasses most days. The more you drink, and the more often, the greater the risk to your health but there are easy ways to cut back."

"It is important to know how much you are drinking. Taking at least two or three days off a week can help reduce the health risks, as well as helping you save money, lose weight and sleep better without cutting it out completely."

The Chief Medical Officers' guideline for both men and women is that people are safest not to drink regularly more than 14 units per week, to keep health risks from drinking alcohol to a low level.

For people drinking 14 units per week, it is best to spread this evenly over 3 days or more.

A good way to reduce weekly alcohol intake is to have several drink-free days each week.

Councillor John Kelly, Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture at Sunderland City Council said:

"We all know that reducing the amount of alcohol we drink is good for our health and our wallets! Taking a few days off alcohol each week is a small step we could all take to help us cut back."

"If you're one of the many who have stayed Dry for January then it's a great way to keep the momentum going.  For those who didn't want to commit to a month off the booze, then a few days off every week could be your goal."

"If you're thinking of cutting back and want more help and advice, there are a number of services in Sunderland who can provide support such as the Live Life Well Service or Wear Recovery."

Balance is also re-launching its Can't See It campaign highlighting that alcohol increases the risk of seven types of cancer as a clear reason to reduce weekly unit levels.

Data shows enough alcohol is being sold in the North East for drinkers to consume 22.3 units per week on average compared to the Chief Medical Officer's guidance of no more than 14 units.

What is 14 units and why do the guidelines suggest no more than 14 units?

Fourteen units of alcohol is equivalent to six pints of average-strength beer or 6 six medium glasses of wine. However - just one pint of strong lager or a large glass of wine can contain more than three units of alcohol.

The risk of developing a range of illnesses (including, for example, cancers of the mouth, throat and breast) increases with any amount you drink on a regular basis. There is now a better understanding of the link between drinking and some illnesses, including a range of cancers.

The previously held position that some level of alcohol was good for the heart has also been revised - the new guidance states the benefits for heart health of drinking alcohol are less and apply to a smaller group of the population than previously thought.