The demon drink: Demand for alcohol `drying up'

A record number of people could be giving up drinking in the New Year, a temperance society has claimed. The Rechabites Friendly Society, founded more than 160 years ago to offer financial policies and services to people who abstain from alcohol, said temperance was making a comeback.

Its chief executive William Turnbull said: "We are seeing substantial growth in the number of people abstaining from alcohol and this manifests itself in increased demand for our products over the past few years. Our membership currently stands at more than 28,000 and is expanding steadily."

He said there were now more than a million non-drinking adults in the UK. One of the places with the highest rates of abstinence was Scotland.

Andy Willis, executive director of the British National Temperance League, said: "Temperance is growing in popularity, especially among the 25 to 34 age group where numbers abstaining from alcohol have more than doubled in the past 17 years."

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