Alcohol consumption down as new problems arise

The Swiss as a whole have been drinking less alcohol during the last 20 years, with global annual consumption per person now down to 8.6 litres.

This content was published on July 29, 2010 minutes

The Swiss Alcohol Board released yearly figures on Thursday showing that overall consumption of alcoholic beverages sank by the equivalent of 0.1 litres of pure alcohol per person in 2009 compared with the previous year.

That decrease is about the same as a person drinking 5.6 shots of spirits, a bottle of wine or two litres of beer less than in 2008.

The numbers confirm a downward trend observed since 1990, when the Swiss on average drank the equivalent of 2.2 litres more of pure alcohol than they do today.

Authorities noted, however, that as alcohol consumption has decreased across the board, new forms of problem drinking have appeared.

“It’s not a paradox,” the board said in a statement. “New phenomena of problem drinking such as binge drinking and ‘weekend alcoholism’ have emerged.”

To cope, the board said targeted solutions are needed. Lawmakers are considering revisions to the country’s Alcohol Act while the government has proposed measures such as prohibiting the free distribution of alcohol and requiring drinking establishments to offer at least three nonalcoholic beverages for less than the cheapest alcoholic drink.

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