More than three-quarters of people in the West Midlands have no idea how many units of alcohol are in a glass of wine, according to a Government survey published today.
While more than 80 per cent claimed to know what a unit was, nearly as many (78 per cent) underestimated the number in a large glass of wine.
Results of the YouGov poll commissioned to launch a £10 million Know Your Limits alcohol awareness campaign, revealed more than half Midlanders questioned thought a 250ml glass of wine, of 12 per cent alcohol by volume, contained just two units instead of three.
A quarter of drinkers did not know a pint of beer (four per cent ABV) has two units, while 60 per cent were unable to calculate a double gin and tonic contains the same number.
While most women (70 per cent) knew their recommended daily consumption guidelines is two to three units, only 55 per cent of men knew their equivalent was three to four.
Units awareness appears to worsen with age. Nearly a third (32 per cent) of drinkers aged 18 to 24 correctly said that a large glass of wine contains three units, compared to just 18 per cent of drinkers over 55.
Seven out of ten of the younger drinkers (69 per cent) also knew a pint of beer contains two units, compared to 57 per cent of the older beer-lovers.
Dr Rashmi Shukla CBE, Regional Director of Public Health for the West Midlands said: "For anybody who enjoys an alcoholic drink, knowing how many units of alcohol you are drinking and knowing when to stop are essential life skills."
"Excessive consumption of alcohol significantly increases peoples' vulnerability and their chances of becoming a victim of assault or of developing one of a number of diseases including cancer, heart disease and stroke."
The poll of 1,972 adults - including 148 in the Midlands - also revealed that half of adult drinkers in the West Midlands enjoy an alcoholic drink two or three times a week.
More than one in ten (14 per cent) drink daily.
In 2005, 1,557 men and 1,137 women across the region died from booze-related medical conditions, and in the past two years 2,129 underage drinkers have been admitted to hospital as a result of drinking too much.
Public Health Minister Dawn Primarolo will launch the Know Your Limits campaign today, which aims to educate drinkers about how many units their favourite tipples contain, to help them stick to their limits.
A series of adverts on TV, radio, billboards and in the press - in the biggest alcohol awareness initiative to date - depict the number of units in individual drinks.
Ms Primarolo, said: "Glass sizes have grown larger and the strength of many wines and beers has increased, so it's no wonder some of us have lost track of our alcohol consumption.
"This campaign is all about helping people understand how many units are in their favourite drinks, and helping them to keep an eye on their intake for the good of their long-term health."
Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker added: "I fully welcome this public information campaign. Combined with wider action across government, this is a vital measure in tackling all forms of excessive drinking."
* The Government has launched a new online calculator, to help people tot up their total units, which can be downloaded to your desktop. For more information, go to www.nhs.uk/units.