Annual consumption of alcohol in Estonia declined to 9.9 liters of absolute alcohol per adult resident in 2016, it appears from an annual review presented at a conference of the National Institute for Health Development (NIHD).
According to the same data, published in the yearbook titled “Alcohol Market, Consumption and Harms in Estonia 2017,” 11.1 liters of absolute alcohol was consumed per adult resident in Estonia in 2014 and 10.5 liters in 2015.
In addition, a reduction has continued in the ratio of people who drink strong alcohol. As much as 88% of those interviewed for the survey by the Estonian Institute of Economic Research said that they drank no vodka at all or did so on a couple of occasions per year at most. In a similar survey in 2008, the ratio of such responses was 67%.
According to the survey, almost three in four residents of Estonia are in favor of a ban on alcohol advertising on the streets, and more than half of respondents were in favor of banning ads for strong and low-alcohol beverages alike on the radio, television, Internet and in newspapers and magazines.
Residents of Estonia found driving under the influence to be the most serious of problems related to the consumption of alcohol, with 94% of respondents rating it as a serious or very serious problem. This was followed by breach of public order, domestic violence, alcohol consumption by minors and young people, and health problems caused by alcohol, respectively.
NIHD director Marje Josing said that it was positive that alcohol consumption per resident in Estonia had dropped for the fourth year running.
“At the same time, those who reduce consumption are mainly those who were moderate consumers to begin with,” she noted, listing price increases caused by higher excise duties and changing attitudes as the main factors influencing the drop in consumption. “People increasingly value healthy lifestyles and wish to spend their leisure time without alcohol.”
The institute director also admitted, however, that a danger was posed by more favorably priced cross-border purchases in Latvia, which might lead to increases in consumption again.
According to Josing, in order to further reduce the consumption of alcohol, Estonia should increasingly adopt other measures besides increases in excise duty, such as restrictions on advertising, better explanatory work, reducing alcohol sales at public events, and better supervision over observance of the ban to sell alcohol to minors. (ERR/Business World Magazine)