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European Commission releases 2nd Eurobarometer Special Report on attitudes towards alcohol

Eurocare welcomes public support for public health policies aimed at preventing and reducing alcohol-related harm

Brussels, 21 April 2010. Eurocare welcomes the Eurobarometer Special Report on attitudes towards alcohol, released today by the European Commission and finds it a very useful instrument to measure the success of the EU Alcohol Strategy that was adopted in October 2006.

The report shows there has been little variation in the prevalence of alcohol consumption since the question was last asked in autumn 2006 (75%) and that there is still ample cause for concern.

Eurocare is particularly worried about frequent binge drinking being so widespread across the EU, especially among young people:

Three out of four respondents said they consume alcoholic drinks up to three times a week

Young people aged 15-24 years are more likely than older age groups to have five or more drinks at a time.

There is also a trend to regular drinking among older age groups (those aged 55 years or more) that could lead to an increased risk of chronic diseases in an ageing population.

The low awareness among EU citizens of some of the health risks linked to alcohol consumption (e.g. cancers) and the fact that only 15% of the respondents thought that not drinking at all before driving is the safest option while the same proportion (14%) would still drive after more than two drinks in two hours show that the EU has still a long way to go in this field.

Mariann Skar, Secretary General of Eurocare, the European Alcohol Policy Alliance, welcomed the findings in the report and said that “although the results of the survey show that there is still much work that needs to be done, we are pleased to see there is also that the European citizens support the adoption of public health policies aimed at reducing and preventing alcohol related harm, such as drink driving countermeasures, measures to reduce underage drinking, including a ban on advertising targeting minors, or measures to inform consumers of the health hazards of alcohol consumption”.

Europeans widely support public policies aimed at reducing alcohol-related harm. A clear majority (89% in favour) supports an 18-year age limit for selling and serving alcoholic beverages across the EU. A clear majority also (77%) think that alcohol advertising targeting young people should be banned across the EU. There is also strong endorsement for action against drink-driving, such as random checks by the police (83% in favour) and a lowered blood alcohol limit for young drivers (73% in favour).A clear majority (79%) support placing warnings for pregnant women anddrivers (79%) on bottles. Placing warnings on alcohol advertisementsreceives even clearer support (82%).

Notes to the editors:

1.- Special Eurobarometer 331 "EU citizens' attitudes towards alcohol"

2.- European Commission Press release

First Progress Report on the implementation of the EU Alcohol Strategy, 2009

Further info on EU alcohol policy and action

3. EUROCARE (The European Alcohol Policy Alliance) is an alliance of organizations working on the prevention and reduction of alcohol related harm in Europe. Eurocare has around 45 member organisations across 22 countries in Europe, most of which are national or supranational umbrella organisations. Member organisations are involved in research and advocacy, as well as in the provision of information to the public; education and training of community care workers; the provision of workplace and school based programmes; and the provision of counselling services, residential support and alcohol-free clubs for people with alcohol dependence.

4. Media contacts:
Eurocare Secretariat Tel: + 32 2 233 3874 ,