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Last Updated: Friday, 13 October 2006, 23:35 GMT 00:35 UK
TV ad aims to stop young drinkers
Image from the alcohol TV ad campaign
"Alcohol makes you feel invincible when you are most vulnerable" warns the campaign

Hard-hitting TV adverts showing the dangers people face from drinking to excess are to be screened in the UK.

The 4 million government campaign aims to stop binge and underage drinking.

Younger people are likely to drink heavily - 48% of men and 39% of women aged 16 to 24 drink above daily recommendations, official figures show.

Alcohol alters judgement and perception and can lead people to take risks with their health and safety that they would not normally consider.

Drink dangers

Research shows 80% of pedestrian deaths on Friday and Saturday nights are alcohol related, as are nearly three quarters of peak time accident and emergency admissions.

In England alone it is estimated that 5.9 million people drink to get drunk.

Public Health Minister Caroline Flint said the campaign was targeting men and women aged 18 to 24 as a priority because they are the most likely to drink irresponsibly.

This is about encouraging young people to still have a good time but to know their limits
Public Health Minister Caroline Flint

But it is also designed to appeal to younger adolescents who may already be drinking illegally, as research suggests.

The TV advert includes a series of different scenarios where young people, thinking they are 'superheroes' while drunk, take risks with their health and safety, such as falling off high scaffolding or running into a busy road, and coming to serious harm.

Ms Flint said: "We are not trying to demonise alcohol or stop people enjoying themselves.

"This is about encouraging young people to still have a good time but to know their limits, and to take responsibility for how much they drink."

More work needed

Srabani Sen of Alcohol Concern said: "We're delighted to see the launch of this campaign.

"It marks an important starting point in changing young people's attitudes to binge drinking, but there's still a great deal more to do if we're to change the way young people in this country think about their relationship with alcohol."

Lesley King-Lewis of Action on Addiction agreed, saying: "We are asking the government to look at the effectiveness of warning labels on bottles, to implement a tax based on the percentage of alcohol in a drink and to provide long term funding for an alcohol worker in every hospital."

David Poley, chief executive of the Portman Group said: "Drinks companies have no wish to see their products misused by binge drinking young adults.

"We warmly welcome this government campaign which complements the educational work already carried out by the industry."

The Know Your Limits campaign, jointly run by the Department of Health and the Home Office, starts on 16 October with the TV ad.

Advertising will be spread across cinema, radio, magazines and online throughout November.

Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker said: "The government is dedicated to reduce alcohol related harm and will continue to work with the police to clamp down on irresponsible drinkers and retailers while strengthening our partnerships with the alcohol industry to entrench responsible alcohol sales."


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Young drinkers give their reaction to the adverts



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