How Much Do People Drink vs Abstain – 2011 Global Alcohol Report

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I must say I do enjoy an occasional social drink and was quite interested to see how I compare to the average drinker in a recent report that came out from the World Health Organization.  The report reaffirms some well known facts but also highlighted some worrying trends related to drinking, whether you are rich or poor.

How Much Do People Drink – Adult per capita alcohol consumption (1 Gallon = 3.79 litres)

Despite widespread consumption, most people do not drink. Almost half of all men and two-thirds of women did not consume alcohol

I am more a beer and wine man myself, reflective of where I have lived. This locality bias also explains why Russians, for example, like spirits (vodka would be my guess) when it comes to their alcoholic beverage of choice. Another statistic I was able to confirm: Europeans drink much more on average than Americans, a fact I long suspected.

Contrary to the belief of many people, the health, safety and socioeconomic problems attributable to alcohol can be effectively reduced. Many evidence-based alcohol policies and prevention programs are shown to work. One of the most effective is raising alcohol prices by raising taxes. This has the added benefit of generating increased revenues. A recent analysis of 112 studies on the effects of alcohol tax increases affirmed that when taxes go up, drinking goes down, including among problem drinkers and youth. Implementing and enforcing legal drinking ages for the purchase and consumption of alcohol is another effective way to reduce alcohol-attributable problems, as is the setting of maximum blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) for drivers and enforcing them with sobriety checkpoints and random breath testing. These are effective and cost-effective ways to reduce alcohol-related traffic accidents.

While this post takes a more lighthearted perspective on drinking; alcoholism is a serious problem. As the report states “…the harmful use of alcohol results in approximately 2.5 million deaths each year, with a net loss of life of 2.25 million, taking into account the estimated beneficial impact of low levels of alcohol use on some diseases in some population groups. Harmful drinking can also be very costly to communities and societies.” Like anything in life, moderation is key.

Source : WHO

Contrary to the belief of many people, the health, safety and socioeconomic problems
attributable to alcohol can be effectively reduced. Many evidence-based alcohol policies
and prevention programmes are shown to work. One of the most effective is raising
alcohol prices by raising taxes. This has the added benefi t of generating increased
revenues. A recent analysis of 112 studies on the effects of alcohol tax increases affi rmed
that when taxes go up, drinking goes down, including among problem drinkers and youth.
Implementing and enforcing legal drinking ages for the purchase and consumption of
alcohol is another effective way to reduce alcohol-attributable problems, as is the setting
of maximum blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) for drivers and enforcing them with
sobriety checkpoints and random breath testing. These are effective and cost-effective
ways to reduce alcohol-related traffi c accidents.Contrary to the belief of many people, the health, safety and socioeconomic problems 

attributable to alcohol can be effectively reduced. Many evidence-based alcohol policies

and prevention programmes are shown to work. One of the most effective is raising

alcohol prices by raising taxes. This has the added benefi t of generating increased

revenues. A recent analysis of 112 studies on the effects of alcohol tax increases affi rmed

that when taxes go up, drinking goes down, including among problem drinkers and youth.

Implementing and enforcing legal drinking ages for the purchase and consumption of

alcohol is another effective way to reduce alcohol-attributable problems, as is the setting

of maximum blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) for drivers and enforcing them with

sobriety checkpoints and random breath testing. These are effective and cost-effective

ways to reduce alcohol-related traffi c accidents.

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1 Comment on "How Much Do People Drink vs Abstain – 2011 Global Alcohol Report"


Super Frugalette
Monday 1:17 pm

I thought the statistic that 1/2 of all men and 2/3 of all women do not consume alcohol. Most women do not consume when pregnant or nursing…this is what happened to me and now I rarely drink.

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