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Alcohol-free in the New Year? You're one of over 5 million.

Published 11 January 2013 by

Across the UK, around 5.5 million of us started 2013 with our hearts set on a sober start to the year. So says the research* we began in mid-December, when we asked people about their New Year's resolutions.

Breaking it down:

  • 5.5 million (11%) said they'd steer clear of alcohol for at least part of January
  • 3.5 million (7%) said they'd abstain for the entire month
  • 1.5 million (3%) were aiming even higher, determined not to touch a drop throughout January and beyond.

Youngsters aim high - but have their doubts...

It may surprise you, but it seems younger people are the most likely to stay away from drinking: fully 14% of 18-34 year-olds said they'd give it up for the whole of January at least, compared with just 6% of 35-54 year-olds (and just 2% of over-55s).

On the other hand, they're also the least confident about hitting their target. Look at the 3.5 million people who said they wanted a dry January and you'll find:

  • 73% of the youngest group reckoned they'd make it
  • 78% of the middle group said they could do it
  • 82% of respondents aged 55+ were confident they could.**

Maybe youngsters (who might have particularly active social lives) know that they have more of a reason to 'detox' - but also that they'll face plenty of temptation when they try to.

Reasons to reach for Ribena

If you're looking for reasons to join the non-drinkers, how about these three?

  • Think about your finances. 21 units (around 10 pints) is the maximum amount a man should be drinking in a week. Say you're paying £3 a pint: that's £30 a week and £130 throughout January.
  • Think about your waistline. Did you know there are 555 calories in a bottle of white wine - or that the average wine drinker drinks an extra 2,000 calories every month? You'll find 210 calories in each pint of stout, 142 in a dark rum and coke, 126 in a gin & tonic...
  • Think about your overall health. Drinking too much can lead to anything from sweating and anxiety to heart disease and brain damage.

(Thanks go to for the facts about health and calories. It's a highly informative website, well worth a visit if you'd like to know more about drinking and its effects.)

A new lifestyle choice?

Another interesting fact that came out of our survey: an impressive 27% of respondents said they simply don't drink alcohol, which works out to around 13 million people around the country.

In other words, millions of people already know that life without alcohol is perfectly possible. If you're one of the ones who reach February without succumbing to temptation, would you consider ditching the habit once and for all? If you're normally a ten-pint-a-weeker, you could save over £1,500 per year...

* Carried out by Opinium Research, with an online survey of 2,014 UK adults between 14th and 17th December 2012. Results weighted to nationally representative criteria. Figures have been extrapolated based on a population estimate of 49,969,000 (2010 Census)

** Please note: these two figures for the older groups should be treated with a bit of caution, since the number of people in these groups who said they were giving up for the whole of January wasn't high enough to be representative.