Press release: 3.1 million people to ditch the booze for Dry January 2018

Maddy Lawson | December 2017 | 6 minutes

A YouGov poll released today (15 December 2017), commissioned by charity Alcohol Concern, has revealed that an estimated 3.1 million people1 in the UK are already planning to do Dry January in 2018.

They will ditch the booze for one month to feel healthier, save money and re-set their relationship with alcohol.

The campaign launches today, 15 December, which marks one of the busiest days of the year for the emergency services as Christmas parties lead to alcohol-related injuries and violence. Alcohol costs the NHS an estimated £3.5 billion each year, which amounts to £120 for every taxpayer.

Dry January is run by national charity Alcohol Concern, which merged with Alcohol Research UK in April to become an even stronger advocate for a world in which alcohol causes no harm.

The poll of 2,086 participants showed up some other interesting trends:

  • The group most likely be planning to do Dry January this year are those with children aged 12-16, as well as those with three or more children in their household (11%).
  • Those aged 35-54 were most likely to be planning to do Dry January (7%).
  • Northern Ireland is the area of the UK where people are most likely to be planning to do Dry January (10%), closely followed by the North East (8%).
  • Those working full-time are more likely to do Dry January (7%) than those who do not work, who are working part-time, full-time students or retired.
  • People who have tried Dry January in the past are more likely to want to sign up for support, suggesting a higher proportion see its value compared to people who have not previously attempted Dry January.

Dr Richard Piper, CEO of the new merged charity, said:

“Dry January is a national campaign which changes lives, giving people the impetus and support they need to re-set their relationship with alcohol for January and beyond. The benefits are astounding: 49% of people lose weight, while 62% sleep better and a whopping 79% save money.

“Alcohol is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability for people aged 15-49 in the UK – but these tragedies are all totally avoidable. Dry January is growing year-on-year as more people across the country decide to take control of their drinking and reap the benefits, both in how they feel now and for their future health.”

Public Health England has endorsed Dry January, saying:

"Dry January is based on sound behavioural principles and our previous evaluation of the campaign shows that for some people it can help them re-set their drinking patterns for weeks or even months after completing the challenge."

Two-thirds of people who attempt Dry January make it through the month without drinking, while 72% maintain lower levels of harmful drinking than before Dry January six months later.