LONDON — Young Britons are more likely to have been drunk by the time they reach their teens than their European peers and are spurred on by cheap alcohol promotions, a study says. The report says youngsters in Britain are more likely to have been drunk by the age of 13 than in almost anywhere else in Europe, while 15 and 16-year-olds are more likely to have been drunk in the last month than their European contemporaries.
Only young people in Estonia, Malta and the Isle of Man drink more than those in Britain, the study for the charity Alcohol Concern claimed. In a survey of 1,000 16 to 24-year-olds in Britain, 63 percent said cheap alcohol promotions encouraged them to drink excessively, while "drinking to get drunk" was the general aim among young people.
Participants pointed out that it can be "cheaper to buy a three-litre bottle of cider than buy a ticket to go to the cinema", according to the report, being published to mark the start of Alcohol Awareness Week. Researchers compared the drinking habits of Britons with the findings of a Europe-wide survey conducted in 2007.
Alcohol Concern's programme policy manager, Tom Smith, said: "This report is further proof of the impact cheap alcohol is having on the health and wellbeing of our young people. They have told us loud and clear that the way in which alcohol is priced influences the way they drink."
The charity wants the government to set a 50p minimum unit price on alcohol.
The Alcohol Health Alliance, made up of 31 organisations including the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing has also called on the government to set a 50p minimum. Scotland is set to bring in a 50p threshold in April 2013 but government plans for England and Wales are likely to see a 40p minimum introduced.
Copyright © 2012 AFP