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3rd February 2020

A quarter of UK adults cut down on drinking in January

Three in four intend to continue in long term

More than a quarter of UK drinkers (27%) reduced, or completely stopped, drinking in January, reveals new research from independent alcohol education charity Drinkaware.

The study finds almost three quarters (72%) of those people who said they drank less or stopped drinking last month, plan to continue doing so in the long term. In this group, 59% said they plan to continue to reduce their drinking in the long term, whilst 12% said they plan to stop drinking completely.

The research, carried out by YouGov on behalf of Drinkaware, also found that taking drink free days is the most popular technique to cut down on drinking. More than a third (38%) of these drinkers who are planning to cut down in the long term say they will take drink free days during the week. Drinkaware’s Drink Free Days campaign is running until March on radio and social media channels, encouraging midlife drinkers – aged 45-64 – to take more drink free days.

Other techniques people intend to use to reduce or stop drinking include:

  • A third (33%) intend to avoid alcohol on a ‘work’ night
  • Over a quarter (26%) intend to set themselves a drinking limit
  • One in five (20%) intend to avoid always having alcohol in the house

Drinkaware’s Chief Executive Elaine Hindal said: “It’s good to see such a high proportion of people who reduced or stopped their drinking in January planning to continue to do so in the long term.

“People who gave up or cut back on alcohol for the month will undoubtedly have seen benefits such as more energy, better quality of sleep and brighter mood. It therefore makes complete sense for them to keep these good habits going beyond January.”

She added: “With a growing number of people cutting down on their drinking or cutting it out completely, operators will need to continue to adapt their drinks offer.  With the wide range of high quality no and low alcohol drinks now available, it’s never been easier to put together an appealing selection and make sure that people who choose to avoid alcohol don’t also avoid the pub.”

Drinkaware advises people, when drinking, to keep track of their consumption and stay within the Chief Medical Officers’ low risk drinking guidelines, which recommend drinking not more than 14 units of alcohol per week, spread over three or more days.


About the research: All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2,219 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 23rd – 24th January 2020.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

About Drinkaware: Drinkaware is an independent UK-wide, alcohol education charity with the objective of positively changing public behaviour and the national drinking culture. It aims to reduce alcohol misuse and minimise harm by helping people make better choices about their drinking. It achieves this by providing impartial, evidence-based information, advice and practical resources; raising awareness of alcohol and its harms and by working collaboratively with partners, including the medical community, public health, third sector organisations, local authorities, police and the drinks industry.

Drinkaware has more than 130 funders, including UK alcohol producers, retailers in the on-trade and off-trade and wholesalers.


Issued on behalf of:Drinkaware

By:ShielPorter Communications

Further information:Ros Shiel: / 07841 694137

John Porter: / 07734 054389

Date of issue:31 January 2020