While data is note available before the early 1990s, per capita alcohol consumption in Estonia has fluctuated since then, increasing sharply in the late 1990s to early 2000s. As of 2001, adult per capita consumption was just under 10 litres of pure alcohol. [1]

In a 1999 national survey of 5500 households (with respondents 18 years and above), the rate of last year abstainers was found to be 17% (total), 10% (males) and 23% (females). The survey also found that the average number of alcohol units consumed on the last drinking occasion was 3.3 among those having had at least one drink during the last month and 1.9 for the total population. [2]

A 2002 cross-sectional survey of adults aged 16 to 64 years (total sample size n = 1388) found that 18.5% of males and 8.7% of females reported binge drinking at least once a week and 2.8% of males and 1.1% of females reported binge drinking almost daily. [3]

Youth Drinking: According to the 1999 ESPAD survey (total sample size n = 3254, males n = 1446 and females n = 1808; age group 15 to 16 years), the rate of alcohol consumers was 21% (total), 27% (males) and 17% (females). Alcohol consumer was defined as lifetime use of 40 times or more. [4]

Youth Drunkenness: According to the 2001/2002 HBSC survey (total sample size n = 1267), the proportion of 15-year-olds who reported ever having been drunk two or more times was 56.7% for boys and 42% for girls. [5]

The unrecorded alcohol consumption in Estonia is estimated to be 5.0 litres pure alcohol per capita for population older than 15 for the years after 1995 (estimated by a group of key alcohol experts). [6]

Alcohol producers have estimated that legal sales in 1998 amounted to about 7 litres of pure alcohol per capita. In addition, they believed that at least 3 litres of illegal alcohol was consumed. The proportion of illegal alcohol has been relatively high in the case of spirits (vodka): expert assessments indicate that, in the case of vodka, the figure has varied from 20% to 80% in different years. A survey carried out by the Estonian Institute of Economic Research in 1998 indicates that 29% of consumers regularly buy illegal alcohol, and that illegal alcohol accounts for 31% of the total consumption of strong alcoholic beverages. In May 1998, 15% of respondents had bought illegal alcohol, representing 51% of their total alcohol consumption. [7]

The SDR per 100 000 people for chronic liver disease and cirrhosis was 22.12 in 2001 and 21.72 in 2002. [8]

The number of alcohol-related road traffic accidents per 100 000 population was 32.64 in 2000 and 38.34 in 2001. [9]

According to the Medical Statistics Bureau, the number of cases of mental and behavioural disorders caused by the use of alcohol in Estonia were 9920 in 2000, 10 533 in 2001 and 10 191 in 2002. [10]

[1] FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), World Drink Trends 2003.

[2] Brunovskis A, Ugland T. Alcohol consumption in the Baltic States: developments from 1994 to 1999. Oslo, Fafo Institute for Applied Social Science, 2002.

[3] Kasmel A, Lipand A, Markina A. Health Behaviour among Estonian Adult Population, spring 2002. Tallinn, 2003.

[4] Hibell B et al. The 1999 ESPAD Report. The European School Survey on Alcohol and Other Drugs: Alcohol and Other Drug Use Among Students in 30 European Countries. Stockholm, Council of Europe, 2000.

[5] Currie C et al., eds. Young people's health in context. Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study: international report from the 2001/2002 survey. Copenhagen, WHO Health Policy for Children and Adolescents (HEPCA), 2004.

[6] Alcohol per capita consumption, patterns of drinking and abstention worldwide after 1995. Appendix 2. European Addiction Research, 2001, 7(3):155–157.

[7] Ahven A. Social problems in official statistics in Estonia in the 1980s and 1990s. In: Leifman H, Edgren-Henrichson N, eds. Statistics on alcohol, drugs and crime in the Baltic Sea region. Helsinki, Nordic Council for Alcohol and Drug Research (NAD), 2000.

[8] & [9] European health for all database. World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe.

[10] Talu A et al. Estonia Drug Situation 2003. Annual report to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction – EMCDDA. Tallinn, Estonian Drug Monitoring Centre, 2003.