The ninth annual Dry February, aimed at highlighting the dangers of excessive drinking, begins today in the Czech Republic.
The campaign “Dry February Challenge” aimed at encouraging Czech men to abstain from alcohol for the month.
The event is organised by the group League of Open Men but is also encouraging women to not drink a drop of alcohol during February.
The group has a dedicated website offering tips on exercises and alternative, non-alcoholic drinks, as well as advice from psychologists.
The NGO prepared “A survival kit” for the courageous ones who want to join the campaign. Social media is used as a space where people share their experiences.
Last year, about 6 percent of Czechs joined the campaign, which is about half a million of the overall population.
When the NGO asked 300 participants after the campaign, 90 percent of them stayed away from alcohol throughout the whole month, and more than half of them even through May.
The organizers point out that Czechs are among the world’s heaviest drinkers and excessive consumption threatens their health and quality of life.
A recent report from OECD shows that the Czech Republic ranks 4th in terms of alcohol consumption. The report used data from 2017, at which time Czechs consumed an average of 11.6 liters of absolute alcohol per year each.
As much as these kinds of campaigns are useful in raising awareness on the issue, new laws can also support the change in the drinking habits of Czechs.
For example, in Lithuania, the European country where they drink the most alcohol per capita, a set of restrictive laws was passed by the government to reduce alcohol consumption in 2017. Increasing the drinking age to 20, cutting selling hours and raising excise taxes are among the new policies.