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Yearbook addiction: Germans still drink far too much
People in Germany drink an above-average amount of alcohol. On average, every German citizen consumes almost 134 liters of alcoholic beverages a year, as much as fits in a bathtub. This is the result of the main office for addiction questions (DHS) in the current “Yearbook Addiction”. The experts advocate taking measures to reduce alcohol consumption.
Alcohol is harmful to health
High alcohol consumption is detrimental to health. According to experts, drinking too much permanently can damage all organs of the body. Alcohol increases the risk of numerous diseases such as high blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmia, heart failure, fatty liver, nerve damage and various types of cancer such as colon cancer. Nevertheless, a social evening with friends or a visit to a pub without alcoholic drinks is almost inconceivable for many people. Years ago, studies showed that alcohol consumption in Germany is far too high. Unfortunately, there is “no change”, as reported by the main office for addiction questions (DHS): “In Germany, people drink far too much,” write the experts.
Consumption dropped to very high consumption
Alcohol consumption in Germany is falling, but only from an extremely high to a very high level. This emerges from the new "Yearbook Addiction 2018", which has just been published by the German Center for Addiction Questions (DHS).
In 2015, alcohol consumption was 10.7 liters of pure alcohol per citizen aged 15 and over.
The total consumption of alcoholic beverages decreased in 2016 compared to the previous year by 1.25 percent to 133.8 liters per head of the population.
Total alcohol consumption, measured in pure alcohol per capita, accounts for 5.0 liters of beer, 2.3 liters of wine, 1.8 liters of spirits and 0.4 liters of sparkling wine.
Alcohol reduces quality of life and shortens life time
Alcohol is not a cure, on the contrary: it reduces the quality of life and drastically shortens life time. The less alcohol you drink, the lower the risk of cancer and circulatory diseases.
Although there was a slight decline in consumption in this country - as in other nations - no all-clear can be given.
High alcohol consumption is closely linked to life expectancy and the burden of illness for Germany. "In addition to tobacco smoking, lack of exercise and an unbalanced diet, drinking alcohol is one of the TOP 4 behaviors that ruin your health," writes the DHS.
Alcohol consumption leads to death particularly early in life and has therefore been classified as dangerous. 200 diseases are also caused by consumption. Nevertheless, alcohol is marketed as attractive.
In Germany, the social norms are too alcohol-oriented and alcohol advertising is a problem for everyone's health. "The goal must be to reduce alcohol consumption across the nation," said the DHS.
Children suffer most from passive drinking
The experts also call for effective protection for bystanders, because: "Passive drinking massively affects uninvolved people in almost all areas of life."
According to the DHS, relatives and children suffer the most from passive drinking. Passive drinking is therefore dramatic for unborn babies and children.
According to a recent Europe-wide study, more than a quarter of women in Germany drink alcohol during pregnancy.
Every year 10,000 children in Germany are already alcohol-impaired at birth - mentally and physically (“Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder” FASD). This damage is not reversible, many of them need lifelong care.
Experts estimate that there are around 1.5 million people with an FASD in Germany. Conclusion: There is no safe amount of alcohol for pregnant women.
The DHS advocates "protection of adolescents, children and the womb child". This can be achieved through preventive measures such as price increases.
Pipe tobacco consumption has increased significantly
In addition to alcohol consumption, smoking is particularly emphasized in the “Yearbook Addiction”.
According to the DHS, the consumption of cigarettes and pipe tobacco increased again in 2017: 75,838 million cigarettes were consumed in Germany. Compared to 75,016 million units in the previous year, this corresponds to an increase of 1.1 percent.
The consumption of pipe tobacco has increased significantly. The increase from 2,521 tons in 2016 to 3,245 tons in 2017 corresponds to 28.7 percent.
Based on the latest population surveys in 2015, around 479,000 young people between the ages of 12 and 17 and 14.4 million adults between the ages of 18 and 64 in Germany have used an illegal drug at least once in their lives.
Cannabis remains the most widely used illegal drug in all age groups and has been used by 7.3 percent of 12- to 17-year-old adolescents and 6.1 percent of 18- to 64-year-old adults over the past 12 months.
But the legal drugs alcohol, tobacco and medication are responsible for most of the addiction problems in Germany.
According to the DHS, behavioral and relationship prevention must be used across the board and continuously so that Germany finally leaves the top international positions in the harmful use of legal drugs. (ad)