Alcohol in Switzerland

Alcohol Consumption and its Resulting Costs

Compared internationally, in matters of alcohol consumption, now as before Switzerland occupies one of the rows at the very front. And there is an alarming trend: alcohol consumption among the youth and young males is, for instance, rising.

The percentage of those Swiss who drink alcohol to an extent damaging to health is also on the increase. Again it is the young people who report about more frequent experiences of drunkenness than just only ten years ago. Nowadays, young women are turning more to beer. An eleven percent minority of the Swiss resident population over the age of 15 years consumes about half of the entire potable alcohol (source: addiction Switzerland former SIPA 2004).

Significance on health

It is not only the quantity alone which is decisive for health-related alcohol problems. Significant also is the consumption behaviour. That is why in the recent past attention is increasingly being drawn, apart from chronic alcohol consumption, plus consumption unsuited to the situation (e.g. before driving a motor vehicle), to occasional, but extreme drunkenness. From a medical point of view, it is less of a problem to drink often and little rather than seldom, but too much.

According to estimates, between 2,500 and 3,000 people die annually in Switzerland as a result of alcohol consumption.

The Resulting Costs

According to studies conducted by the University of Neuchâtel (2003), the social costs of alcohol consumption in Switzerland amount to at least CHF 6.5 billion annually. From this only a fraction is covered by the consumers themselves (above all via taxes on spirits). The far exceeding largest portion of the costs is borne by the general public, i.e. the tax payer, as well as the medical and accident insurance companies.

Source: Swiss Alcohol Board SAB