Poll shows 66% of millennials feel peer pressure to drink

Two-thirds of UK consumers aged between 18 and 34 years old feel pressure to drink alcohol while socialising, according to a study published by low-abv Punch producer Punchy Drinks.

The study, which polled drinkers aged 18 and above, found that people of all ages feel peer pressure to drink, but that it appears to soften as people get older.

Punchy Drinks reported that 20% of 35-54-year-olds and 7% of drinkers aged above 55 said they felt peer pressure to consume alcohol.

Paddy Cavanagh-Butler, founder of Punchy Drinks, said: “The whole point of going out with friends, whether you’re drinking or not, is to have fun. So it’s never nice to hear that so many of us, particularly young people, experience anxiety and pressure over alcohol – whether we choose to drink or not.

“As a society, we should be doing everything we can to alleviate this, starting by making clear that a night out doesn’t have to be a straight choice between getting drunk and total abstinence. And, as more sophisticated, better tasting non-alcoholic options enter the market, that’s never been truer. People who know their limits can have a few drinks and switch to a tasty, non-alcoholic alternative.”

When asked why they felt pressure to drink, young people most commonly said they didn’t want to feel like they were missing out (45%) or that they didn’t want to come across as boring (32%).

The report found that UK drinkers consume alcohol an average of one in every three social outings, and that men are more likely than women to cave to peer pressure because they don’t want to be labelled as boring – 37% and 27% respectively.

Punchy also reported that young people are twice as likely to say they have a negative relationship with alcohol than older people, with 11% of 18-34-year-olds and 6% of those aged 55-and-above saying they may have an unhealthy relationship with drinking.

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