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Alcohol and Society

Key Facts

In the world, 3,3 million people lose their lives every year due to the harmful use of alcohol.

The harmful use of alcohol causes more than 200 diseases. In the age of 20 – 39, approximately 25 % of the deaths are because of harmful use of alcohol.

The spreading of the diseases such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis is connected with the harmful use of alcohol.

Alcohol is a psychoactive substance that creates dependency effect and has been consumed in various cultures for centuries.

It has been known that the harmful use of alcohol in every society causes diseases on different levels, social and economical problems.

The impacts of alcohol on people and societies depend on the amount of alcohol consumed, the frequency of drinking and the quality of the alcohol on rare occasions.

The harmful use of alcohol can also increase the tendecy of hurting family members, friends and other people.

The consumption of alcohol is associated with health problems, mental and behavioural disorders, liver disorders, some types of cancer, cardiovasculer disorders and some injuries. Injuries resulting in death are mostly seen in relatively younger people.

Factors affecting alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm

The amount and habits of alcohol consumption depend on some factors that are effective on individual and societal level. Among the environmental factors there are economic development, culture, accesibility to alcohol, development and efficiency of the policies about alcohol.

Conceptual causal model of alcohol consumption and health outcomes


The chronic and acute health outcomes of alcohol consumption are related to the total consumption and frequency of drinking which are two separate but related aspects of alcohol consumption.

There are gender differences in alcohol-related deaths.

The percentage of alcohol-related deaths among men is 7,6 % of all deaths and for women it is 4,0 %.

In 2010, total alcohol consumption among male drinkers was 21,2 million litres of pure alcohol and it was 8,9 million litres of pure alcohol for females in the world.

Ways to reduce harmful use of alcohol

Countries have a responsibility for formulating, implementing, monitoring and evaluating public policies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol.

For regulators there are advanced scientific datas that increase productivity and efficiency of these policies.

- Marketing of alcoholic beverages

- Regulating and restricting accesibility to alcohol

- Providing accessible and affordable treatment for people with alcoholic addiction.

- Raising awareness of health problems caused by harmful use of alcohol

References: World Health Organization (WHO) - Alcohol and Health Status Report 2014.