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'Responsible drinking' ads fuel binges


Alcohol-industry campaigns to promote responsible drinking may instead be encouraging people to drink more, according to a new study.

Researchers from Glyndwr and Bangor universities in Wales reviewed responsible-drinking campaigns in different countries and found that those sponsored by the alcohol industry were often "ineffective" and counterproductive. The report found that "whilst these campaigns identify specific undesirable behaviours such as drink-driving, they serve to normalise and promote drinking in general."

Researchers said the industry's "conflict of interest" meant it should have no role in formulating policy related to alcohol consumption.

In 2009, a number of major brewers including Fuller's, Thwaites and Brains, together with the supermarket chains Tesco, Spar and Asda, were behind a £100m campaign to encourage young people to drink more responsibility.

The five-year Campaign for Smarter Drinking saw the slogan "why let good times go bad?" appear on beermats, advertising hoardings and signs in pubs, bars and off-licences.