Leading researcher Professor Carol Emslie is calling on Scots to think twice before buying alcohol-related novelty gifts for their female family and friends this Christmas.
The High Street and online shopping sites are full of gin, vodka and wine-themed festive presents targeted at daughters, sisters, mums, teachers and friends.
The vast range of products from a multitude of companies include gin candles, bath salts and cushions emblazoned with words such as: ‘Oh come let us adore gin’ to ‘Ho Ho Ho Pass the Prosecco’ t-shirts and ‘GINgle Bells’ Christmas jumpers, Professor Emslie argues they’re sending out the wrong message to our loved ones.
Professor Emslie, who leads Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) Substance Use and Misuse research group, has joined forces with Alcohol Focus Scotland to launch a social media campaign #dontpinkmydrink which calls out focused marketing of alcohol to women.
The campaign calls attention to how alcohol is continuously normalised within our society using phrases such as “Is it wine o clock yet?” and “Pop the Prosecco”.
The National Records for Scotland figures show there were 1,235 alcohol-related deaths in 2017 - 854 were men and 381 were women. Despite a significant drop in alcohol-related deaths since 2001, death rates are still higher in Scotland than anywhere else in the UK.
Professor Emslie said: “There’s been a huge explosion in gimmicky alcohol-themed gifts for women this Christmas. Perhaps in the past we’ve ignored this but I urge everyone to think twice about buying these gifts this Christmas. They send out a worrying message about the normalisation of alcohol in Scottish society to our nearest and dearest.
“Alcohol-related death rates for women in Scotland have come down but they are still worse than the rest of the UK. There is still a lot of work to be done.”
Her #dontpinkmydrink campaign is aimed at "identifying and exposing examples of cynical marketing which seeks to link alcohol products to women's friendships, feminism and empowerment".
It has already gathered support from individuals and organisations all over the world including Central Scotland MSP Monica Lennon who put forward a motion, backed by another nine MSPs, in the Scottish Parliament in support of Professor Emslie’s campaign.
Professor Emslie said: “Our call to action asks people to identify and highlight these cynical examples across the world and post them on social media using the #dontpinkmydrink".
“I‘m delighted the campaign has had so much support from so many individuals and organisations. It is great to see the international as well as the Scottish examples.”