Emmanuel Macron says 'non' to replica of UK's Dry January campaign
17 November 2019, 15:20 | Updated: 18 November 2019, 02:15
French President Emmanuel Macron is opposed to promoting a Dry January equivalent in France, according to the president of the champagne makers' union.
Speaking after eating lunch with the French leader in Epernay on Thursday, Maxime Toubart said Mr Macron had assured him that he did not support a "Janvier Sec", which is inspired by the British campaign to encourage sobriety for a month.
"He told us, 'You can let it be known that there will be no Janvier Sec,'" Mr Toubart recalled to Vitisphere, a specialist outlet covering French wine industry news.
The comments were made as France's national health agency was said to be preparing a campaign launch for a Dry January replica.
Reports of the campaign in early November led to concerns from wine and champagne experts across France about the economic impact of an alcohol-free month.
A statement from the National Association of the Elected Officials of the Vine and the Wine (ANEV) said an equivalent of Dry January would place extra pressure on an industry already "facing serious commercial difficulties today".
It added: "Particularly with the US surtax on imports of French wine or the uncertainty around Brexit."
But a joint statement from a number of French associations combatting addictions said the goal of cutting alcohol was "obviously not to lead to total abstinence, but to question its consumption and to become aware of the relationship between society and alcohol".
Citing the British campaign, it added: "Dry January in the United Kingdom offers people who wish to take a break from alcohol for a month to see the benefits on their body and in their daily lives."
The statement went on to say that Mr Macron's reported comments to champagne experts "would show the influence the alcohol sector has on political choices in the field of public health".
In the UK, a joint study by the Royal Free Hospital and the British Medical Journal in 2018 found that an alcohol-free month lowers blood pressure, cholesterol and the risk of diabetes.
It also reduces the amount of cancer-related proteins that are found in a person's blood.
The University of Sussex also found that Dry January helps participants maintain healthier drinking habits for the rest of the year.
(c) Sky News 2019: Emmanuel Macron says 'non' to replica of UK's Dry January campaign