Warning to arty wine swillers
Warning to arty wine swillers

Middle-class women who enjoy the arts but drink too much are a target in a new health campaign warning about the long-term hidden harm from alcohol.

While WA's health promotion agency admits it usually aims safe drinking messages at sports fans and young men who binge drink, for the first time it is targeting those who attend performing arts such as ballet and music, particularly women.

Healthway says risky drinking is a problem across the community and research shows arts lovers are more likely to drink too much than other people.

It is sponsoring the WA Symphony Orchestra with $275,000 over two years, which includes the naming rights of Alcohol Think Again for the Masters Series concerts launched at the Perth Concert Hall last night.

WA Ballet will get $110,000 over a year to promote the health message at its performances.

Health+Medicine: How much are you drinking? How to cut back.

The campaign features images of young women - a ballerina and a violinist - showing how alcohol can increase the risk of a range of cancers affecting the breasts, mouth, throat and liver.

Healthway chairwoman Rosanna Capolingua said research showed that while those who attended the arts smoked less and exercised more than non-patrons, they drank more.

Yet premium wine had just as much alcohol as cheap products, and risky drinking did not have to mean "rolling-around drunk".

"They're not causing a one punch or getting glassed in the face but the unseen harm to their livers and arteries is happening," Dr Capolingua said.

"It's different to the very obvious images that outrage society when we see young people being injured or harmed by alcohol."

Dr Capolingua said that in her Floreat doctors' surgery she regularly saw women who drank too much.

Many still did not grasp the concept of having no more than two standard drinks a day, which usually meant two 100ml glasses of wine.

She said some women routinely shared a bottle of wine with their partner, liberally filling large wine glasses, which meant they had about four standards drinks.

WASO chairwoman Janet Holmes a Court said it was good sponsorship arrangement because safe drinking messages tended to be aimed at sporting groups and the young.

WA Ballet chairman John Langoulant said it was an innovative health campaign.

The West Australian

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