WHO reveals harmful use of alcohol is killing more than 3 million people
Kathmandu: A report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday revealed that more than 3 million people died as a result of harmful use of alcohol in 2016, which represents 1 in 20 deaths. More than three quarters of these deaths were among men. WHO’s Global status report on alcohol and health 2018 presents a comprehensive picture of alcohol consumption and the disease burden attributable to alcohol worldwide.
“Far too many people, their families and communities suffer the consequences of the harmful use of alcohol through violence, injuries, mental health problems and diseases like cancer and stroke,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. “It’s time to step up action to prevent this serious threat to the development of healthy societies.”
Of all deaths attributable to alcohol, 28% were due to injuries, 21% due to digestive disorders; 19% due to cardiovascular diseases, and the remainder due to infectious diseases.
Worldwide, 45% of total recorded alcohol is consumed in the form of spirits. Beer is the second alcoholic beverage in terms of pure alcohol consumed (34%) followed by wine (12%). Worldwide there have been only minor changes in preferences of alcoholic beverages since 2010.
Almost all (95%) countries have alcohol excise taxes, but fewer than half of them use other price strategies such as banning below-cost selling or volume discounts. The majority of countries have some type of restriction on beer advertising, with total bans most common for television and radio but less common for the internet and social media.
“We would like to see Member States implement creative solutions that will save lives, such as taxing alcohol and restricting advertising. We must do more to cut demand and reach the target set by governments of a 10% relative reduction in consumption of alcohol globally between 2010 and 2025,” added Dr Tedros.