APPEALING to young people's vanity is a far better way of stopping them binge drinking than warning them of long-term damage to their health, medics have found.
They glaze over when told of the impact on their livers or the increased risk of cancer, according to experts in Cardiff, Wales.
But when warned that injuries sustained while drunk could ruin their looks they pay attention, Cardiff University Dental Hospital nurse manager Catherine Bridgeman said. She has been involved in a campaign to cut binge drinking among young people and also change their long-term habits.
It involves nurses talking to people about their drinking when removing stitches for injuries suffered on nights out.
The "structured conversation" was "about getting them to identify what role alcohol played in their injury", she said.
"For young people, I've found there's very little mileage in talking about their health, because they can't visualise what they will be like when they are 60.
"I discuss the fact that they now have a facial injury, it's not going to go away, and they are going to end up with a scar. This time they are lucky.
"But the next time it could be a bottle in the middle of their face, and a serious injury, and all the plastic surgery in the world is not going to rectify that."
Professor Jonathan Shepherd, of the university's Violence Research Group, said: "Perhaps in the past we've tended to be a bit preachy when it comes to alcohol.
"What the research shows is that what works better is much more of an empathetic conversation between a health professional and a patient." ©The Daily Telegraph