The fourth edition of 'Tournée Minérale', an initiative to go the entire month of February without alcohol, will start on Saturday.
The organisers, Foundation against Cancer and The Drug Line, note that the impact of the campaign now goes further than making people individually think about their alcohol consumption.
Participants from previous years said that the pressure from outside to drink a glass of alcohol is sometimes very high at receptions, parties, or with friends and/or family. According to a report drawn up by the organisers, almost half (44%) of Belgians think Tournée Minérale is useful.
Almost two-thirds of participants in previous editions said they experienced positive effects during the alcohol-free month. 19% said they slept better, 15% they had more energy, 16% they saved money, and 12% said they lost weight or simply felt better about themselves.
Even up to six months after Tournée Minérale, participants still drink less alcohol per week than they did before participating, according to a study by the UGhent.
"From the very first edition of the campaign, the intention was to let people experience that they can perfectly have a good time without alcohol. In recent years, hundreds of thousands of people have proven that they really can," said Katleen Peleman, the Director of the Flemish Alcohol and Other Drugs Expertise Centre (VAD), in a press release.
"The fact that people who do not want to drink alcohol for a while are less and less condemned to classic soft drinks proves that a lot has changed since 2017," she added.
The Tournée Minérale initiative started in 2015, after a health survey conducted by Sciensano in 2013 calculated that 84% of the Belgian population over 15 regularly drink alcohol, and about that 10% experience addiction problems because of it.
The Brussels Times