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Yao helps AB InBev fight alcohol abuse

By Zhong Nan | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-11-23 11:42

Basketball Hall of Famer speaks to Jiangshan pupils in support of intervention

Yao Ming, the former NBA basketball player, put his athletic fame to work in support of China's first intervention program for reducing the harmful use of alcohol.

The project has been launched by Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer by revenue.

Yao, one of China's most recognizable figures, showed up earlier this month in the Second Middle School in Jiangshan, of East China's Zhejiang province, to help launch a program demonstrating the dangers of underage alcohol drinking.

Though the law is well known, Yao said: "Teenage drinking (of) alcohol still happens from time to time, due to the pressure from peers or family, or even teenage psychological issues."

Yao gave a vivid lecture on the subject to the students, showcasing some tactics he would use to turn down the offer of drinks.

"I will straightforwardly tell them I'm not drinking today, or I will invite them to tea instead," Yao said, sparking laughter from the class.

"I think teenagers can be more convincing than their parents sometime," Yao added. "That's why we need to encourage them to help each other stay strong to the temptation and even teach their parents the dangers of drink-and-drive."

According to AB InBev's baseline study done in Jiangshan, many parents don't understand the importance of China's legal drinking age and thought it was not a bad thing for kids to sip their first beer before they can legally consume alcohol at age 18.

"After a year of preparation, we will launch a series of events to reduce the harmful use of alcohol," said Frank Wang, vice-president of AB InBev Legal & Corporate Affairs, APAC North. "We will focus on preventing teenagers from drinking and enhancing (existing) education" to help people understand the dangers of harmful drinking.

Wang said the company would also keep monitoring the effect of the project. In the following two years, the company will team up with the local government and China Alcoholic Drinks Association to reduce the harmful use of alcohol and turn Jiangshan into the first pilot city in the ongoing project.

Shu Chang, mayor of the city, said the project is an experiment to turn Jiangshan into a healthier place through innovation and science.

The company has set up the first intervention center on reducing the harmful use of alcohol. It includes an exhibition and an interactive activities zone, featuring virtual reality equipment to simulate the experience of drinking and driving.

Yao helps AB InBev fight alcohol abuse

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