B8bn saved on alcohol over 'Lent'

B8bn saved on alcohol over 'Lent'

An anti-alcohol campaign aimed at discouraging drinking during the three-month period of Buddhist Lent this year helped save more than 8 billion baht on booze, says the Thai Health Promotion Foundation (ThaiHealth).

ThaiHealth in collaboration with the StopDrink Network and allies held a briefing yesterday to share information on anti-alcohol measures which were aimed at encouraging people to stop drinking during Buddhist Lent which ran from July 17 to Oct 13.

"The campaign has entered its 16th year and has gained traction in reducing alcohol consumption," ThaiHealth manager Supreeda Adulyanon said.

There are 22.5 million drinkers in Thailand, according to a survey by the Centre of Alcohol Studies, the Research Centre for Social and Business Development (SAB), and ThaiHealth. Among them 15.9 million are men.

Each year, about 12 million drinkers join the campaign to abstain during Buddhist Lent.

The StopDrink Network found that 53.5% of these people or almost 6.5 million participants abstained for the entire campaign, Dr Supreeda said.

Most said they experienced better health and were able to save an average 1,284 baht each by not drinking, which helped Thailand save about 8.25 billion baht on alcohol spending, Dr Supreeda said. The campaign also helped reduce deaths from all causes by 9%, and deaths as a result of drinking by 25%.

Theera Watcharapranee, manager of the StopDrink Network, said a campaign will now be launched to encourage people to stop drinking for life.

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