Celebrating AWARH2023, Addressing the Impact of Alcohol on Chronic Diseases

Alcohol consumption continues to have significant impacts on Europeans’ health and lives, and societies. It is a major risk factor for chronic diseases and deeply linked to social inequalities. Despite strong evidence on the health risks associated with any level of alcohol use, Europe continues to have the highest global alcohol consumption. ECDA joins this year’s Awareness Week on Alcohol Related Harm (AWRAH) to continue advocating for positive change through robust EU policy action, to prevent and save lives.

AWRAH23’s theme, “Alcohol: The Right to Know,” emphasises the importance of giving citizens all the means to be aware and educated about the impact of alcohol consumption on their health and wellbeing, in order to be able to make informed decisions.

Nearly 268,000 deaths and 8 million Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) in the EU in 2019 were attributable to alcohol-related chronic diseases. ECDA supports the European Commission’s objective of achieving a 10% reduction in harmful alcohol consumption by 2025. To reach this goal, ECDA recommends:

  1. Mandatory Nutrition Labelling: ECDA supports mandatory ingredient labelling on all alcohol products. This empowers individuals with essential information.
  2. Implementing Preventive Measures: Advocating for preventive measures, including health warnings on alcohol labels, is critical. These warnings play a crucial role in raising awareness about the link between alcohol consumption and health, and the associated risks.
  3. Enforcing Effective Policies: The implementation of impactful policies, evidenced-based and supported by WHO, such as minimum unit pricing (MUP) and harmonisation of alcohol taxation is essential. These policies aim to discourage excessive alcohol consumption and can alleviate the significant burden of chronic diseases associated with alcohol use.
  4. Addressing Alcohol Marketing: Stricter regulations on alcohol marketing targeting youth and minors are crucial, including restrictions on advertising and sponsorships, particularly at events aimed at younger audiences. Protecting current and future generations and giving young people the opportunity to live in a health-conducive environment is a political responsibility.