County council launches children's alcohol reduction campaign
Monday, November 15, 2021
A campaign to reduce the number of Lancashire parents who choose to give alcohol to their children is being launched to coincide with national Alcohol Awareness Week.
The six-week campaign, called Where's the Harm, is being run by Lancashire County Council's trading standards team. It aims to reduce the number of adults that buy alcohol for children.
Social media posts will target parents of under 18s, giving them the facts about alcohol and its effects on health. Messages will encourage adults to discuss alcohol and the risks of under-age drinking.
This campaign will also highlight the importance of not giving alcohol to children at home or buying it for them.
The Where's The Harm campaign follows concerning findings from the trading standards bi-annual young person's survey, carried out with children in school years 9 – 12 and the 2020 Trading Standards North West Young People's Alcohol and Tobacco survey.
These identified that:
• Parental supply was the most common way that under 18s obtain alcohol
• 78% of 14 to 17 year olds said they were supplied alcohol by their parents
• 65% of young people drink at home when their parents are supervising
County Councillor Peter Buckley, cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: "We've decided to run this campaign in Alcohol Awareness Week following the recent survey results, which highlight an issue with adults giving alcohol to children at home and buying alcohol for them.
"There has been a welcome reduction in young people's drinking in Lancashire, which is great news. However, our research shows us that we need to target parents and adults so they can reinforce the important messages about the health risks of alcohol and not buy it or give it to children.
"Where's The Harm is a great way to do this and fits in with the theme of this year's Alcohol Awareness Week, which is the effects of alcohol and relationships."
County Councillor Michael Green, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: "Alcohol can have a devastating effect on young people's physical and mental wellbeing.
"Drinking can have a damaging effect on the young brain, effecting mental wellbeing.
"It can also damage our bodies, lead to weight gain and drinking a lot in a short space of time leads to alcohol poisoning.
"It also lowers inhibitions, which can make it more likely for teenagers to take more risks like getting into fights or having unprotected sex.
"By reaching parents through social media, Where's The Harm will ensure we can work with parents to improve young people's health and wellbeing."
In addition to the campaign, trading standards recently conducted a social experiment using actors playing a father and daughter discussing the purchase of alcohol for a 16th birthday in a local shop. The shop was in on the experiment; however, the shoppers were not.
Angela Lomax, the county council's trading standards manager, said: "The social experiment revealed some interesting insights with a number of responsible Lancashire parents speaking up when faced with the dilemma of a parent buying alcohol for a 16-year-old 's birthday party.
"Parents who supply their children with alcohol are probably doing so with the best intentions thinking it is a way to manage or control their children’s drinking. They may even condone drinking or see getting drunk as the norm for young people.
"However, health experts, including the UK's Chief Medical Officer, agree that an alcohol-free childhood is best and Where's The Harm is all about promoting this important message."
Where's The Harm will feature digital advertising on Lancashire County Council's channels, as well as posts on its @LancashireCC Twitter and Facebook pages.
For more information about National Alcohol Awareness Week, visit www.alcoholchange.org.uk
Any young people aged under 25 who need support with alcohol or substance misuse issues can contact We Are With you, a charity which is commissioned to provide support by Lancashire County Council.
Find your local service at www.wearewithyou.org.uk