France Scraps Dry January Campaign After Alleged Pressure From Winemakers

It's only November, but France is already giving up on its New Year's resolutions. The Local reports that "mois sans alcool," a "dry January" initiative originally planned by the government for 2020, is being quietly scrapped as French president Emmanuel Macron allegedly faces pressure from the nation's winemakers.

"The campaign is being developed," Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said, but went on to clarify that these talks now won't happen until at least February 2020, when the ministry's health prevention committee is scheduled to meet. Data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development shows that France is the third leading nation for alcohol consumption per capita, and France's own public health agency encourages people to limit themselves to two glasses of wine per day. Similarly, Dry January was initially conceived as an effort to encourage alcohol abstinence in the new year, an awareness campaign with no power or intent to actually enforce prohibition.

Still, Macron may have been cowed by the moneyed interests, as some anti-addiction groups suspect. "There were backroom decisions taken that raise questions, even though the budgets were set and people were already at work," said Nathalie Latour of the Addiction Federation. Latour goes on to tell The Local that campaigns like Dry January are effective because they get people thinking about alcohol in a new way, without stigmatizing the act of drinking. Whether France will ever see its Dry January rollout, meanwhile, remains to be seen.