Kiwis' alcohol use focus of campaign

Cancer Society health promoter Linda Buxton (left) and Public Health South senior health...
Cancer Society health promoter Linda Buxton (left) and Public Health South senior health promotion adviser Toni Paterson demonstrate how one standard drink of wine (100ml, at left) and two standard drinks (200ml, at right) look in an average wine glass. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD
Relaxing after work with a couple of quiet beers or wines is a Kiwi tradition, but it’s not as harmless as we might think.

The Dunedin Alcohol Harm Reduction Group has launched the "Pour Choices Add Up" awareness campaign to encourage Dunedin people to reflect on their use of alcohol.

It also highlights alcohol can cause long-term health harms and is linked to cancer, including breast, bowel, mouth, throat and liver cancer.

Southern DHB senior health promotion adviser Toni Paterson said most people tried to look after themselves, "but when it comes to alcohol products New Zealanders still drink too much".

"Typical pours of alcohol usually contain more than one standard drink, and people may not be aware of the risk they are putting themselves at," Ms Paterson said.

Cancer Society Otago-Southland health promotion and advocacy manager Sophie Carty said many people were not aware that alcohol was a class 1 carcinogen (like tobacco and asbestos).

"There have been other campaigns around alcohol harm, but the Pour Choices campaign is the first one with a cancer message," Ms Carty said.

"Drinking increases your chance of developing cancer."

The Pour Choices Add Up campaign runs throughout September and includes advertising, a bus billboard and social media.

Cancer Society health promoter Linda Buxton said the wide promotion and easy access to cheap alcoholic products had normalised the use of alcohol and more community awareness of the harms was needed.

"Many people drink too much - it is very easy to overlook how much you are putting in your glass," she said.

"Going easy on the pour is good for your health in many ways, including your risk of cancer."

Facilitated by Public Health South, the Dunedin Alcohol Harm Reduction Group includes the Southern DHB, Dunedin City Council, Adventure Development, Mirror HQ, the Cancer Society, ACC, WellSouth, St John, police and the University of Otago.

• People concerned about their drinking can call the Alcohol Drug Helpline on 0800787-797 or free-text 8681.

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