A third (31%) of drinkers in the East of England drink more than they intended because they were encouraged by others, reveals a new study by independent alcohol education charity, Drinkaware.

Nearly a third (27%) of adults, who drink in the region, report drinking more alcohol than they set out to because they were in a round, and more than a third (35%) drink more because they did not want to be impolite and refuse a drink.

Overall, Drinkaware’s annual monitor found that a majority of East of England drinkers (56%) say they would like there to be less pressure to drink alcohol. A third of East of England drinkers (33%) say that pressure to drink alcohol is common in their age group.

Some people employ avoidance tactics; a third polled (31%) admit to having nursed their drink to avoid pressure to have another, while one in ten (9%) admit to actively seeking friends who drink little or no alcohol.

Almost a quarter (24%) in the region drink more because they want to keep up with others. Across the UK, friends are chief influential figures, with 60% of those who drink more than they intended to saying that they have been pressured by friends.

Drinkaware’s research also reveals that a significant proportion of the region’s adults are contributing to a culture of pressure; more than 1 in 10 (13%) adults who drink admitted to having encouraged someone to drink more alcohol after they said they didn’t want to. A similar number had given someone an alcoholic drink or topped up their glass without asking first (12%).

Drinkaware’s chief executive, Elaine Hindal, says: “Our research lifts the lid on a culture of peer pressure in this country. 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.”