British drinkers are being offered the chance to compare how much alcohol they're guzzling compared to fellow boozers, in an interactive scheme launched for the Christmas party season.
Giant touch-screens have been erected in central London, Glasgow, Birmingham and Leeds letting people input what they have drunk in the previous 24 hours, and see how it compares to the national average.
Britons – like everyone else who is cyberconnected to Health24 – have been able to do this for years, thanks to this blood alcohol tool, but the public initiative by charity Drinkaware is a way of raising awareness of the facility, and is part of ongoing efforts to temper Britain's notorious binge-drinking culture, which goes into frenzied overdrive at Christmas and New Year.
"For many people, December and the festive season is a time for getting together with loved ones and celebrating over a drink or two, or even more!" said Drinkaware chief executive Chris Sorek.
"It might feel like party time, but it's still really important to keep track of how much you're drinking - the long-term effects of drinking to excess can last for much longer than Christmas. British party-goers will drink more than 600 million units of alcohol - the equivalent of 265 million pints, 602 million shots of vodka or 286 million glasses of mulled wine - over the festive season, the charity says.
47% drink too much
Nearly half of Britons - 47% - say they expect to drink more over Christmas than the recommended daily amounts of alcohol, which is two to three units a day for women and three to four for men.
"Although it seems an enormous amount, it's likely that 602 million units is actually an underestimate of how much alcohol we'll slug over the festive season," said Sorek.
"Conducting an experiment to find out what Britain is drinking this Christmas will encourage people to think about how much they've had to drink over the last 24 hours and help to educate them about units at the same time."
The information gathered by the live screens, including in London's Covent Garden, will be fed onto the charity's website, while full results will be published early next year. - (Sapa, December 2009)