More than a third of people drink more than they set out to because of social expectations according to research from charity Drinkaware.
The organisation’s annual survey of more than 2,000 adults found that more than one in three (37%) drinkers often drink more than they planned because they were in a round.
Some 34% drank more because they did not want to be impolite and refuse a drink, and 29% said they wanted to ‘keep up’ with their peers.
More than a third (35%) of drinkers said pressure was common in their age group – rising to 60% in the 18 to 24 age group – and 57% would like it to be less prevalent.
Pubs should help their customers to control their drinking, the charity recommended.
Drinkaware chief executive Elaine Hindal said the findings shone a light on a British culture of peer pressure.
She said: “It speaks volumes that over half the adult population say they would like there to be less pressure to drink.
“And it seems from our new research that being polite, not wanting to confront a situation and feeling the need to keep up could be preventing many of us from standing up to that pressure.”
Measures recommended by the organisation include boosting the range of low-and-no alcohol drinks on offer, choosing house wines at the lower end of the ABV scale and serving food for the same hours as alcohol is served.
It also encouraged staff to be vigilant and spot if a customer is drinking more than they should and appears vulnerable.
Drinkaware and the British Beer & Pub Association have produced posters to communicate that pubs cannot sell drinks to customers who are already drunk or who are buying for someone else who is drunk.