On 12 May 2015 the OECD released its report on OECD alcohol consumption.
Over the last 20 years alcohol consumption has declined slightly in the OECD, however this total masks growth trends among women and young people. It appears that men are on average consuming less. Wealthier, better educated people also drink more than average while binge drinking is most frequent among well-educated women and less-educated men.
Switzerland comes in a bit above the OECD average at 9.9 litres of pure alcohol per person (those over 15 years old) per year compared to the OECD average of 9.1 litres. Switzerland’s 9.9 litres is lower than the UK’s 10.6 litres per year. 10 litres of pure alcohol is equivalent 100 bottles of wine or 200 litres of standard beer.
In Switzerland, women with high education are more likely to be heavy drinkers than less educated ones. For Swiss men the opposite is true. Highly educated men still drink more on average than well educated women however.
There are some though who are doing more than their fair share. 20% of Switzerland’s over 15s are imbibing 54% of the total. This lot are on average consuming nearly 27 litres of pure alcohol a year. That’s equivalent to 270 bottles of wine a year or over 5 a week. In beer terms it is equal to 2.5 pints a day or more than 500 litres of beer a year. Yikes!
The OECD recommends countries do four things:
1. Higher taxes and minimum prices – Switzerland has lower than average taxes on beer, no tax on wine and relatively higher taxes on spirits.
2. Greater regulation of alcohol advertising
3. More effective medical treatment of those with drinking problems
4. Stricter enforcement of drink drive laws – in Switzerland maximum legal blood alcohol concentrations (%) are 0.01 for young or professional drivers and 0.05 for everyone else, somewhat stricter than the 0.08 in the UK.
This map allows you to compare countries:
OECD report (in English)
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