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One Drink Too Many Can Kill. France’s Strong New Anti-Alcohol Campaign

French authorities try to step up their campaign against alcohol. The result may create more confusion than concern.

An image from the new spot warning against drinking too much. (French Health Ministry)
An image from the new spot warning against drinking too much. (French Health Ministry)
Sandrine Blanchard

PARIS - "Drinking a little bit too much every day puts your life in danger." It must not have been easy for the French Health Ministry to come up with this message for its new national campaign against alcohol. Just imagine all the endless brainstorming it took for officials to find the perfect words to use. I mean, one does not just stumble on phrases such as "un peu trop"! Between drinking "moderately" and drinking "to excess', there is now this new level of drinking a "bit too much". It is not the same as "drinking a lot" or "drinking regularly," but rather drinking... too often ... but without really being aware of it... and without being an alcoholic either. Make sense?

In the health ministry's TV ad, this new category of "moderate excess' is illustrated by a jovial 40-something who indulges himself with a glass of wine over lunch, with a beer right after work in the company of his colleagues, and capped off with a small whiskey at home in the evening, just to unwind. That makes a total of three glasses. But how many glasses of alcohol are too many? One? Two? None maybe, provided that the scenario does not repeat itself "every day"?

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Families wait for news of their missing relatives following the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday

Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Barev!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where 21 are killed in a school shooting in Texas, Davos focuses on Ukraine, and a vertigo-inducing world record is broken at Mont-Saint-Michel. Die Welt also offers a psychoanalyst’s perspective on how war survivors pass trauma onto their children.

[*Armenian]

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