Alcohol: SPF finally enters the campaign

Alcohol: SPF finally enters the campaign

The State has always refused to commit to the side of the promoters of the Dry January operation which is currently underway. This year, no support, once again, for this operation carried out on the initiative of various actors from civil society, but the launch of a campaign by Public Health France (SPF) on alcohol. This campaign aims to denounce the paradoxical association commonly made between alcohol and good health. “With the holiday season, the month of January is often synonymous with celebrations accompanied by the consumption of alcohol, to wish each other a happy new year and toast the health” of those close to you and your family. has nothing to do with good health”, explains the health agency in a press release published on January 9. Each year in France, 41,000 deaths are attributable to alcohol. “Its consumption, even at low doses , increases the risk of cancer, hemorrhagic cerebrovascular accidents (CVA) and heart rhythm disorders, which makes it a major public health concern”, explains SPF, hence the launch of this unprecedented campaign whose slogan is: “Good health has nothing to do with alcohol”. This campaign aims above all to invite everyone to question the link between alcohol and good health, to change their outlook on their consumption of alcohol and, if necessary, get help via the aid device Alcohol Info Service help desk.

Widespread alcohol consumption

Cocorico (no, we’re kidding!) France is one of the most alcohol-consuming countries among Western European countries. Several studies conducted by Public Health France with the general public show, unsurprisingly, that alcohol is very much associated with pleasure, conviviality with family or friends, and partying. “Its consumption is justified by its perceived virtues in terms of socialization, for the pleasure of taste, and for its immediate psychoactive effects (its disinhibiting, relaxing, euphoric properties)”, underlines SPF. In addition, alcohol very often accompanies significant events in social life: births, weddings, moving in, departure or retirement parties, professional or sporting successes… Roughly speaking, consuming or offering alcohol is often perceived as a social rule, even good manners.

The Barometer of Public Health France, in 2017, gives an idea of ​​consumption in France: 87% of people aged 18 to 75 said they had drunk alcohol in the last twelve months and 40% at least once a year. week. In 2020, among 18-75 year olds, 24% declared a consumption that exceeded the lower-risk consumption benchmarks set in 2020, namely a maximum of two drinks per day and not every day. The fact remains that alcohol consumers put the health risks at a distance, in particular for occasional or regular low-dose consumption. Thus, the 2018 Eropp survey explains that only 11% of 18-75 year olds think that occasional consumption can be dangerous for their health – 79% think that alcohol consumption is dangerous when it is daily.

When good health has nothing to do with alcohol

This theme has therefore been chosen for the SPF campaign which will be broadcast until January 31, 2023. Its objectives are to “detrivialize the consumption of alcohol” by challenging the absurdity of wishing oneself “good health” or ” health” by clinking glasses of alcohol, to prevent and reduce the associated risks and to offer assistance tools via the Alcool Info service remote assistance system. Spots will be broadcast in cinemas and on television; a spot was also designed for the radio. All the media for this campaign point to the Alcool Info Service site. The aim is to invite “the public to find out about their own consumption habits and to find advice on how to reduce their alcohol consumption”.

A remote help device

Alcool Info Service is a national information, guidance and personalized assistance system, accessible to all via the Internet or by telephone on 0 980 980 930, available 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. The site provides the general public with a great deal of information, advice on how to reduce their alcohol consumption and tools, such as the alcoholmeter to assess their alcohol consumption. News is published regularly on various themes such as alcohol and pregnancy, alcohol among young people and the elderly, or even Dry January. The site also offers interactive modules (Questions-Answers service, testimonials, discussion forums, etc.) and individual chats to dialogue with a professional. Alcohol Info Service lists all the structures specializing in addictology within a national directory of more than 3,000 structures. It provides guidance as close as possible to the home of the person concerned.

A campaign that makes people react

Barely launched, the SPF campaign caused a reaction. Recalling that France remains one of the most consuming countries in Western Europe, the Addiction Federation certainly welcomes “any initiative which aims to reduce alcohol consumption in our country”, but indicates that “professionals – who do not have not been associated with the development of this campaign — wonder: while the ever-increasing success of Dry January shows the effectiveness of positive and mobilizing messages, why is public communication focusing in the same period on traditional messages of criticism of risky festive practices and reminders of dangerousness? “. For the Addiction Federation, there is a double problem: the concomitance of two campaigns, the most effective of which does not benefit from the support of the State; the competition between two approaches with opposing discourses. And the Addiction Federation defends the idea that the “growing success of “Dry January” shows the effectiveness of positive prevention messages (…) this campaign, which is currently taking place for the fourth year in France thanks to a consortium of associations, mutuals and local authorities, but without state support, succeeds in having more virtuous behaviors adopted in terms of health thanks to real positive and playful social marketing, based on the promotion of positive behaviors and discarding any message negative ” ; what the new SPF campaign does not do. “The choice of message risks giving the impression of making something old out of something new while surfing on Dry January. Faced with the evolution of alcohol-related problems, we believe it is necessary to renew and diversify prevention messages in good coordination with all the players”, tackles Jean-Michel Delile, president of the Addiction Federation. And the Addiction Federation concludes with a critique of the SPF method. ” Countryside [de SPF, ndlr] has unfortunately not been the subject of consultation with addictology professionals. A regrettable and surprising choice even though it is these associations and professionals who have supported Dry January since its origins and on their own human and financial resources following the withdrawal of the State in 2019. The Addiction Federation is available to take over the work with Public Health France to contribute to the development and coordinated implementation of innovative prevention strategies. The expertise of the professionals in the field that we represent seems precious to us to share with the public authorities”. For its part, the French Society of Alcoholism welcomes a “bold” campaign.

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