2-3-4-0 Campaign in Quebec

Campaign promotes moderation for men and women

Since Canada’s first Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines were released in November 2011, various provinces and organizations have been developing campaigns and tools to help publicize them. (For more, see previous posts Canada’s new Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines and Fact Sheets for Women on Understanding Canada’s New Low-Risk Drinking Guidelines).

In January 2012, Éduc’alcool, an independent, not-for-profit organization launched a campaign based on the new low risk drinking guidelines. (Éduc’alcool’s motto is “Moderation is always in good taste” and promotes a “culture of taste as opposed to drunkenness.”). The campaign includes print, TV, movies, and web ads as well as social media such as Facebook and YouTube. The video above was designed to reach a younger audience. A free booklet on low risk drinking guidelines was made available at liquor stores, hospitals, and community health centres.

The campaign uses the formula 2-3-4-0 to help people apply the low risk drinking guidelines.

“Women who want to avoid long-term problems should limit themselves to two drinks a day and 10 a week. For men, the limits are three drinks a day and 15 a week. That’s the 2-3 part of the expression.

Of course, there is no harm in drinking a little more than that every now and then. On a special occasion, for example, women may have three drinks and men, four, provided, of course, that such “special occasions” don’t occur too frequently. That’s the 3-4 part.

Lastly, to avoid physical and psychological addiction, the recommendation is that everyone should abstain from drinking at least one day a week. That’s the 0.”

As the low risk drinking guidelines emphasize sex differences, the formula takes this into account. Interestingly, three of the six print ads developed for the campaign emphasize sex differences with the messages:

  • “It’s not sexist. It’s science.”
  • “2 for the Lady. 3 for the Gentleman.”
  • “Men can take more.”

While the formula does not address pregnancy, the campaign answers the question “What about pregnant and nursing women?” by saying:

“While there appear to be only minimal risks related to very light drinking during pregnancy, no truly safe limit has been determined. It is therefore recommended that pregnant women and those wanting to become pregnant abstain from drinking. Nursing mothers should not drink before they nurse.”

Éduc’alcool also has a series of publications on “Alcohol and Health” which covers the topics:

  • Pregnancy And Drinking: Your Questions Answered
  • The Effects of Moderate and Regular Alcohol Consumption
  • Alcohol and the Human Body
  • Alcohol and Seniors
  • The Effects of Abusive Drinking
  • Low-Risk Drinking: 2-3-4-5-0
  • Alcohol Combinations

You can download Pregnancy and Drinking: Your Questions Answered here (it’s also available in French) and view the poster ‘Can I  raise a glass to my baby’s health?’ here.

You can also take a look at a resource developed by the Quebec Department of Health and Social Services in 2010 called “Pregnant? Alcohol and drugs – Be proactive” on the addictions section of the website. While the topic of FASD is treated separately within the publication, I thought it was interesting that the publication as a whole addressed alcohol and drugs together rather solely focusing on alcohol (makes sense but it’s usually not how the issue is treated).

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