ECDA message for the Awareness Week for Alcohol Related Harm

This week marks Awareness Week for Alcohol Related Harm, under the theme “Alcohol: The right to Know!”. ECDA joins partner organisations in their urgent call to address the high level of alcohol consumption in Europe, and people’s right to know about the impact of alcohol intake on their health.

Alcohol is a major risk factor for chronic diseases. In the EU, approximately 268,000 deaths and almost 8 million DALYs attributable to alcohol consumption are related to chronic diseases. More information on the links between alcohol and each disease is available here.

Europe is also the region with the highest proportion of total ill health and premature deaths linked to alcohol. Young people are heavily impacted by the burden of alcohol-related diseases in Europe. Further, one fifth of the population aged 15 and above drink heavily at least once a week.

Greater EU support is necessary to prevent alcohol consumption. This would bring significant health, economic and societal benefits, and contribute to reducing the prevalence of major NCDs.

ECDA recommends:

  • Introducing warning labels on alcohol products with details on the risks associated with consumption at the EU level, as advised by WHO, considering that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption.
  • Ensuring the right of Europeans to know and be protected from misleading or highly promotional information. Stronger regulatory and policy action should be taken to tackle the exposure to alcohol marketing and advertising on broadcast media, digital media and through the sponsorship of events, particularly those aimed at young people. A mandatory, front-of-pack energy labelling and a mandatory ingredients list for all types of alcohol products should be introduced at EU level to inform and protect Europeans.
  • Reducing alcohol availability by setting up a harmonized and higher level of alcohol taxation across Europe. Taxation allows to decrease affordability of alcohol and is a proven cost-effective measure to reduce consumption of alcohol, while contributing to addressing health inequalities.