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03/08/2017

European Commission estimates how many lives are lost due to alcohol

The EU Alcohol Strategy to support Member States in reducing alcohol-related harm was devised for period 2006-2012.

Member of the European Parliament José Inácio Faria (PPE) recently raised the question to the European Commission - how many lives have been lost over the last five years due to alcohol consumption in the EU?

In its response, European Commission indicates that the Global Burden of Disease Study estimates the number of deaths due to risk of alcohol at around 169,000 in the European Union in 2015. Furthermore, in terms of preventable mortality, Eurostat data on causes of death shows that in 2014 over 72,000 deaths due to alcohol related diseases could have been avoided in the European Union.

European Commission also highlighted that the Health at a Glance Europe 2016 report further showed that alcohol was the third leading factor for diseases and mortality after tobacco and high blood pressure in Europe and accounted for an estimated 7.6 % for all men's deaths and 4.0 % of all women's deaths. With regard to the social cost of alcohol, the most solid available estimate (from 2010) quantified the overall costs at EUR 155.8 billion (lower limit EUR 107.9 billion, upper limit EUR 287.7 billion)

The 28 health ministers of the EU have urged the Commission to adopt a comprehensive EU strategy to tackle alcohol-related harm, such as binge drinking and drink-driving. According to the conclusions of a meeting of the Ministers for Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs held on 7 December 2015, the Member States envisage that this strategy would follow up on the first EU Alcohol Strategy (2006-12). Most recently, the Estonian presidency indicated that it will work together with Member States and the European Commission on the cross-border issues that have clear EU added value in the coming months (this will include marketing and labelling).