Dry January in Switzerland was organized by the Blue Cross, the innovation platform “staatslabor” and the “Groupement Romand d’Etudes des Addictions”.
A representative study found that 14% of Swiss adults chose to be alcohol-free in January. This is about one million people.
Alcohol use has reduced in Switzerland during the pandemic. According to Jungfrau Zeitung, 38% of Swiss people have reduced their alcohol use, while 13% have increased their alcohol consumption.
However, there are differences in the reduction of alcohol use between German-speaking Switzerland and Western Switzerland. While one in two (52%) reduced alcohol intake in Western Switzerland, in the German-speaking part of the country it was only one in three (34%). With regard to Dry January people in Western Switzerland were more aware (62%) of the campaign compared to people in the German-speaking part (41%).
Elements of a successful campaign
The campaign was well organized, using an app, a website, postcards and social media to acquaint people with the concept. About 4000 people registered on the website. They were sent a newsletter and participated in a sweepstakes.
Many Swiss people (39%) participated in the campaign for health reasons. The experience of cutting down alcohol during the pandemic was also a motivator (31%). For some (19%) challenging themselves to be alcohol-free was appealing.
The Dry January campaign started in 2013 in the United Kingdom. Since then the campaign has spread to other countries around the world including the United States (U.S.) and France. Dry January is a challenge but also a community to support one another to go alcohol-free or “dry” for the month of January. Similar alcohol-free month campaigns have been in existence for a long time in different parts of the world. This year a record number of 6.5 million people participated in the UK campaign.
The Dry January campaign promotes a healthy lifestyle free from alcohol. The challenge gives people a chance to experience the benefits of being sober. The campaign in the UK was found to have long-lasting positive effects on participants’ health. A study analyzing the effect of Dry January looked at more than 850 British participants and found that most were still consuming less alcohol than they used to even six months after the challenge.
The Swiss organizers recommend to use the Try Dry App any time of the year for anyone wanting to try the alcohol-free way of life.