New Delhi: The per capita alcohol consumption in India increased two folds between 2005 and 2016, according to the Global status report on alcohol and health 2018 released by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Saturday.

Indians consumed 2.4 litres of alcohol in 2005, which increased to 4.3 litres in 2010 and scaled up to 5.7 litres in 2016, the report said.

According to the report, the highest increase in alcohol consumption is expected in South-East Asia, with an increase of 2.2 litres in India alone, from 2005 to 2016.

More than 3 million people died as a result of harmful use of alcohol in 2016, the report said. More than three quarters of those reported dead were men. Overall, the harmful use of alcohol causes more than 5% of the global disease burden.

The report highlighted that 51.1 men per 100,000 population and 27.1 women per 100,000 population suffered from liver cirrhosis. Cancers associated with alcohol abuse resulted in 181 men per 100,000 population and 126.4 women per 100,000 population.

Of all deaths due to alcohol, 28% were from injuries, such as those from traffic crashes, self-harm and interpersonal violence; 21% due to digestive disorders; 19% due to cardiovascular diseases, and the remaining due to infectious diseases, cancers, mental disorders and other health conditions.

“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 such as cancer and stroke," according to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general, WHO. “It’s time to step up action to prevent this serious threat to the development of healthy societies."

According to the report, almost all (95%) of countries globally have alcohol excise taxes, but fewer than half of them use other price strategies such as ban on volume discounts. The majority of these countries have some type of restrictions on beer advertising, with 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," according to Tedros.

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