Pro­gram teaches about blight of ju­ve­nile drink­ing

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By WU YIYAO in Shang­hai wuyiyao@chi­

When 16-year-old high­school stu­dent Xu Li­dong had his birth­day party one Satur­day in early Novem­ber, friends tried to per­suade him to cel­e­brate with a glass of liquor. But he hes­i­tated a lit­tle, then de­cided not to in­dulge — telling his pals and fa mily that he hadn’t hit the right age to try al­co­hol, a les­son well learned from par­tic­i­pat­ing in a re­spon­si­ble drink­ing aware­ness pro­gram.

The pro­grams which are part of the 2016 Na­tional Re­spon­si­ble Drink­ing Aware­ness Week, ini­ti­ated na­tion­wide by the China Al­co­holic Drinks As­so­ci­a­tion (CADA) from late Oc­to­ber, have brought the is­sue of ju­ve­nile drink­ing un­der the spot­light.

“A sur­vey that polled some 30,000 mid­dle school and high school stu­dents across China last year found that more than 51.1 per­cent of re­spon­dents said they had con­sumed al­co­holic drinks and some 15 per­cent said they had been in­tox­i­cated at least once,” said Hu Xiaoqi, di­rec­tor of stu­dents’ nutri­tion and health­care depart­ment of China Cen­ter for Disease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion.

“Among those who con­sumed al­co­holic drinks as ju­ve­niles, some 28.4 per­cent drank be­fore they reached age of 10 and some 22.9 per­cent said they drank be­fore the age of 13, which shows that aware­ness for re­spon­si­ble drink­ing among ju­ve­niles is in dire need of im­prove­ment.”

Hu said de­tailed plans for im­ple­men­ta­tion of reg­u­la­tions for­bid­ding ju­ve­niles to drink and for­bid­ding the sale of al­co­holic drinks to j uve­niles were yet to be com­pleted, so that they and their fam­i­lies — as well as dis­trib­u­tors of al­co­holic drinks — must all play their part in the fight against young drink­ing.

The prob­lem has raised deep con­cerns among al­co­holic drinks mar­ket play­ers in re­cent years and the CADA is work­ing hard to tackle the is­sue, said Wang Yan­cai, pres­i­dent of CADA.

In July 2015, CADA cre­ated the CADA Al­co­hol & So­cial As­pects Or­ga­ni­za­tion (China SAO) in co­op­er­a­tion with ma­jor com­pa­nies in the in­dus­try to drive the sus­tain­able and healthy de­vel­op­ment of the al­co­holic drinks i ndus­try, re­in­force so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity and en­hance con­sumer ed­u­ca­tion and pro­mote a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of re­spon­si­ble drink­ing.

Daniel Chang, chair­man

It takes many peo­ple to make sure that ju­ve­niles don’t drink.” Cheng Xianzhi, a Shang­haibased high school teacher and vol­un­teer ad­vo­cat­ing no drink­ing be­fore age 18

of the For­eign Spir­its Pro­duc­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, said that re­spon­si­ble drink­ing is in­dica­tive of con­sumers’ in­creas­ingly mod­ern mind­sets and life­styles. He said that ir­re­spon­si­ble drink­ing not only had a neg­a­tive im­pact on so­ci­ety, but also led to in­cor­rect per­cep­tions of al­co­hol.

“There has been an in­creas­ing num­ber of cam­paigns and pro­grams aim­ing to raise aware­ness of the prob­lems caused by ex­ces­sive drink­ing and drink driv­ing, but ju­ve­niles’ drink­ing re­mains an is­sue that is not taken se­ri­ously enough,” Chang said.

“We want to take ad­van­tage of ‘Na­tional Re­spon­si­ble Drink­ing Aware­ness Week’ to mo­ti­vate our mem­bers and col­lab­o­rate with var­i­ous par­ties in the in­dus­try to build a new re­spon­si­ble drink­ing ecosys­tem in the in­dus­try.”

The main event of this year’s “Na­tional Re­spon­si­ble Drink­ing Aware­ness Week” takes place in Bei­jing, with par­al­lel ses­sions be­ing held i n Shang­hai, Chongqing, Shen­zhen, Nan­jing, Chengdu, Wuhan, Ji­nan, Zhengzhou, He­fei, Guiyang and Foshan.

Ma­jor pro­duc­ers, dis­trib­u­tors and l ocal al­co­holic as­so­ci­a­tions across the coun­try will launch cam­paigns in hun­dreds of cities to dis­cour­age ju­ve­niles from tak­ing al­co­holic drinks.

“It takes many peo­ple to make sure that j uve­niles don’t drink. First, par­ents and fam­i­lies should never en­cour­age young peo­ple to drink — as some did be­fore as a way to carry on a tra­di­tion of a fa mily with a drink­ing cul­ture,” said Cheng Xianzhi, a Shang­haibased high school teacher and vol­un­teer ad­vo­cat­ing drink­ing af­ter age of 18.

“Sec­ond, dis­trib­u­tors should reg­u­late them­selves and not sell al­co­hol to j uve­niles. Third, j uve­niles need to un­der­stand the harm that con­sum­ing al­co­holic drinks does at too young an age and re­ject drink­ing be­fore the age of 18.”

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