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‘It looks good to be an underdrinker’ during the holiday season, says Thunder Bay health unit

The Thunder Bay District Health Unit has revitalized a campaign aimed at encouraging people to consider limiting their alcohol consumption during the winter holiday season.

Sheena Albanese, a health promotional planner for the health unit, says that the goal of the “underdrinker” campaign is to present the straightforward message in a fun and empowering way, while recognizing that there are a lot of societal expectations around social drinking.

“The tone is something that is light-hearted, a little tongue-in-cheek, but it also speaks to what it really is like to be out and drinking socially,” said Albanese.

The multimedia campaign was originally developed in 2015 in collaboration with local software company Qwantech.

While there are messages that are relevant for people of all ages, the primary target audience is mainly young adults in their mid-20s to mid-30s, according to public health officials.

It was with this younger audience in mind that the animated Underdrinker character was created.

“We wanted to create something brand new, create an underdrinker image, and we wanted to add value to this idea of the underdrinker,” said Albanese. “We wanted people to ask, what is it? What does it mean? And think that it’s kind of cool, it’s a good thing to be, it looks good on you.”

Given that alcohol is still considered to be the number one drug in our society, Albanese added that reducing the amount you drink can improve your health.

“Many adults drink responsibly, but we do have a fairly high proportion of people that drink in excess of the low-risk drinking guidelines that are intended to reduce the chances of long-term illnesses, chronic diseases and short-term acute problems.”

The health unit said it recognizes that it can be hard to say “no” to a beverage when everyone around you is drinking, so they’re providing several options on how to turn down a drink with poise:

  • Saying “no thank you.”
  • Saying “I’m good thanks, but I’m sure someone else will appreciate it.”
  • Saying “I’m fine right now, I may take you up on it in a little bit.”
  • Saying “I’m good. I got a shark bite while diving in the Cayman Islands last weekend, so I’m on antibiotics.”

More information and suggestions are available on the website.

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