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DRINKERS are being encouraged to cut their booze consumption during Alcohol-Free Week.

The week starts on Wednesday 6 February 2008 to coincide with the season of Lent when, traditionally, religious observers abstain from some indulgence such as drinking alcohol.

During Alcohol-Free Week people are being encouraged to give up alcohol for one day, a weekend or for a full week.

The event is sponsored by The Alcohol-Free Shop and is supported by the NHS Drinking Responsibly Project and the charity FAS Aware that promotes alcohol awareness in pregnancy.

The aim is to make people more aware of their drinking habits and help them see how big a role alcohol plays in their lives and how easy, or difficult, it is to do without.

A website has been set up at www.alcoholfreeweek.co.uk to help those taking up the challenge. The website offers facts about alcohol, how it affects the body, tips on drinking wisely, suggestions on alternatives to drinking alcohol and a chance to win a case of alcohol-free beer every day during Alcohol-Free Week.

There are also links to support groups for those worried about their own or someone else's drinking.

The Alcohol-Free Shop offers a wide a range of wines and beers for people who want to avoid alcohol at least some of the time.

John Risby, who launched The Alcohol-Free Shop in May 2006, said: "A lot of people make new year's resolutions to reduce their alcohol intake, lose weight and improve their fitness but after a few weeks, often their good intentions fail. Lent is a good time to give it
another go.

"Alcohol-Free Week is intended to encourage people to become more conscious of their own drinking and the impact it may be having on their health and the well being of those close to them.

"Health experts say that even moderate drinkers should have at least two alcohol-free days a week. We're hoping that, during Alcohol-free Week, people will avoid alcohol on at least one day and that avoiding alcohol at least some of the time will become a lifestyle choice."

Recent studies by the Cancer Research charity found that consuming even moderate amounts of alcohol every day increases the risk of some cancers by 10%.

Liz Burns from the Manchester-based NHS Drinking Responsibly project said, "We know that people want reliable information and environments that support responsible drinking.

"Unless our drinking habits change, liver disease may overtake coronary heart disease as the major cause of early death in the next decade".

Ends

For more information please contact Christine Humphreys on 0845 388 3068, mobile 07768 033525 or via email to christine@alcoholfree.co.uk

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