Reducing your alcohol this January

Man drinking alcohol

Cutting cancer risk, losing weight, more energy and a healthier relationship with alcohol. They’re the benefits of putting alcohol top of New Year resolutions this January.

It comes as new research shows 4/10 of North East drinkers have thought in the last 12 months about reducing the amount they drink.

Balance is again launching its Alcohol is Toxic campaign, supported by North Tyneside Council. The powerful campaign is unlike any alcohol campaign seen before in the UK and follows the journey of alcohol through the body, mutating cells and leading to the formation of a tumour. It has been developed with input from doctors to depict the evidence on how alcohol causes cancer.

People are encouraged to visit the website to find free advice and tools to cut down and links to local alcohol support services.

Taking time off alcohol in January and more drink free days are important ways to cut down and reduce your risks in 2024 according to Balance. A survey of 701 people in the North East who drink alcohol found 41% had thought about reducing how much they drink in the previous 12 months, and of those:

47% were motivated by a healthier lifestyle and 30% to prevent future health issues from alcohol
39% were motivated by losing weight and 31% by saving money
1 in 5 (19%) were motivated by improving mental health and 17% don’t like the way alcohol makes them feel.

It also found:

27% of people who drink admit they would love to be a non-drinker
75% are confident they could cut alcohol out of their life if they had to
Only one in five (20%) say they wouldn’t fit in if they didn’t drink
1 in 10 drinkers (9%) say they feel personally concerned for their health about how much they drink.

Sue Taylor, Head of Alcohol Policy for Fresh and Balance, said: “Alcohol is a group one carcinogen which causes at least seven types of cancer including breast and bowel cancer. With only 1 in 3 people aware alcohol causes cancer, people have a right to know more about the risks and this is one of the reasons why we are running this campaign.

“We all want to do something positive in the New Year. Cutting our risk of cancers such as breast and bowel cancer is something we can do just by cutting down our alcohol consumption.

“It can be hard to break drinking habits but reducing your drinking not only reduces your risks but also brings so many life-changing positives for you and your family. Reducing alcohol consumption is also a great way to kick off benefits that can last all year around - it can help you lose weight, bring you better mood and more energy.”

But she added: “Alcohol is too cheap, too available and too heavily promoted. Alcohol’s toll on the country’s health is worsening, with liver disease and cancers rising. We are calling for more action nationally in 2024 to reduce the burden on our local communities, on the NHS and local authorities and on families.”

Wendy Burke, Director of Public Health for North Tyneside Council, said: “Taking a break from alcohol or reducing how much you drink is a healthy way to kick-start the new year. As well as helping improve your general health, it helps save money in January and beyond and can reduce the risk of some cancers.

“If you are worried about how much you are drinking or the impact that alcohol is having on your health, you can speak to your GP or the North Tyneside Recovery Partnership. For anyone concerned about a friend or family member’s drinking, there is help and support available from PROPS, visit for more information.”

Alcohol is linked to more than 200 medical conditions including 7 types of cancer, liver disease, heart disease and stroke. It can worsen weight problems and worsen anxiety and depression.

Visit to find out about ways to cut down, download the Drink Free Days app and to find local support.

Just like tobacco, alcohol is toxic. Just one or two drinks a day can increase the risk of cancer including bowel, breast, mouth and throat cancer.

The best way to reduce your risk is to cut down how much and how often you drink drinking:

Drink no more than 14 units a week to stay “low risk” (about six glasses of wine, six double spirits or six pints of lager a week) spread out over several days.
Take at least three drink free days a week to give your body a break.

Taking time off alcohol is a great way to start the New Year, will reduce your risks of serious illness and make you feel healthier and better.

There are lots of ways to cut down – try a month without alcohol in January, taking several drink free days a week and watching your alcohol units.

Cutting down drinking brings so many benefits:

reduce your risk of ill health
improve your mood and better sleep
help you feel more energetic
lose weight and lower blood pressure
more time and more money.