Page last updated at 09:15 GMT, Tuesday, 17 June 2008 10:15 UK

Binge-drinking adverts launched

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The new advert aimed at cutting binge drinking

A series of adverts warning 18- to 24-year-olds about the consequences of binge-drinking is being launched by the Home Office.

The TV images shows young people injuring themselves, being violent and smearing vomit in their hair.

The £4m campaign for England and Wales asks: "You wouldn't start a night like this, so why end it that way?"

The adverts will be shown in the evening and late at night to catch viewers before and after nights out.

They will run until mid-August in England and then in Wales, the Home Office said.

One shows a young man ripping out his earring, smashing a wardrobe door in his face, urinating on his shoes and pouring a takeaway meal down his shirt while getting ready to go out.

Binge drinking is not only damaging to health but it makes individuals vulnerable to harm
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith

Another shows a young woman smudging make-up down her face, ripping her clothes and putting vomit in her hair.

Online adverts also depict the aftermath of a binge-drinking session, with one showing a man smashing up a kebab shop and a woman getting into a car with a stranger.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said the campaign would "challenge people to think twice about the serious consequences of losing control".

"Binge drinking is not only damaging to health but it makes individuals vulnerable to harm," she said.

"People who are drunk are much more likely to be involved in an accident or assault, be charged with a criminal offence, contract a sexually transmitted disease or have an unplanned pregnancy."

Health damage

Chris Allison, licensing spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers, said the consequences of drinking to excess meant more young people committed crime and became victims of crime.

It also led to more serious injuries and long-term health damage, he said.

A young woman pouring wine on clothes
The campaign shows how a night binge drinking can end

"Any new initiative which grabs attention and stimulates action by parents, local agencies and young people themselves is welcome," he added.

Chief executive of Alcohol Concern, Don Shenker, said it was vital to "challenge the attitude widespread among young people that socialising must always involve heavy drinking".

"This will take time, but this sizeable campaign is an important contribution to that process," he added.

Print versions of the adverts will also appear in men's and women's magazines, and mannequins and props will demonstrate the message in a series of shop window displays in London's Covent Garden.

In Scotland on Tuesday, government ministers outlined proposals aimed at tackling alcohol abuse including raising the minimum age for buying alcohol in an off-licence or supermarket to 21.

In Northern Ireland, the health minister with police and the drinks industry are looking at ways to work together to tackle binge drinking.

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