The links between Commercial Determinants of Health and Chronic Diseases

Unhealthy diet is the biggest risk factor for disability adjusted life years lost (DALYs) in the EU, principally through diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases, with tobacco and alcohol also contributing significantly to the growing burden of chronic diseases  on health services.

Of course, this is far from coincidental. The private sector has a number of strategies and approaches that it employs “to promote products and choices that are detrimental to health”. They include marketing, which enhances the desirability and acceptability of products. Marketing in all its forms is key to unhealthy commodities’ acceptability, and crucially, their appeal.

To read more about these links on the site:

Reducing alcohol-related harm

The Joint Action on Reducing Alcohol-related Harm (RARHA) has been a three year project co-financed by the EU Health Programme. It has now completed its work and published its findings which include:

  • Monitoring of drinking patterns and alcohol-related harm, including data and survey results on heavy episodic drinking, attitudes towards alcohol policy, and harm to others.
  • Low risk drinking guidelines in RARHA partner countries and a common criterion for low risk, including findings such as the importance to legislate and enforce an 18-year minimum age for all alcoholic beverages across the EU.
  • A toolkit for evidence based good practices in action to prevent alcohol related harm, including concrete examples of good practices in certain Member States.

More information about Reducing Alcohol-Related Harm can be found on the website

Alcohol-attributable deaths in Europe

For the first time, trends in alcohol consumption and related mortality have been examined systematically for all countries in the WHO European Region for an extended period. WHO/Europe’s new report “Public health successes and missed opportunities. Trends in alcohol consumption and attributable mortality in the WHO European Region, 1990–2014” shows that over the past 25 years alcohol-attributable deaths increased by 4%.

The European Region ranks highest globally in terms of adult per capita alcohol consumption, and the level and patterns of drinking have contributed substantially to mortality from cardiovascular diseases (CVD), cancer, liver cirrhosis, and unintentional and intentional injury.

More information and the full report on Alcohol consumption and public health can be downloaded from the website

Alcohol and young people

The 3rd European Alcohol Policy Youth Conference is going to be the concluding event of the EU funded project Let  it hAPYN that has been empowering young people and youth organizations across Europe towards more effective and evidence-based alcohol interventions for the last three years.

The conference will focus on the three main areas of APYN’s work: capacity building, advocacy and youth research on alcohol and youth. It will be a great opportunity for networking and learning from the showcased products that were carried out in the last three years by youth organizations themselves.   It is expected that up to 100 young people between the ages of 18 and 30 from all around Europe will come together to plan the next stages of youth mobilization on the issues around alcohol in Europe.

To apply for a place at the Alcohol Policy Youth Conference in Slovenia in May 2016

Cardio-vascular disease in Europe

People born in eastern Europe are almost five times more likely to die young due to a heart attack or stroke than those born in western Europe. Since 2000, this disparity in risk of premature death has significantly increased from a fourfold difference at the beginning of the century to the current nearly fivefold difference. These early and preventable deaths due to cardiovascular diseases are the greatest single contributor to the lower life expectancy in the east of Europe compared to the west.

Among the largest contributors to the growing disparity in cardiovascular health are the consumption of tobacco and alcohol and the deficiency of evidence-based interventions at the clinical level.

For more information about cardio-vascular disease in Europe on the website

Tackling Substance Abuse

substance abuse

October 2015 – This seminar looked at some of the issues around drug and alcohol abuse and ways of reducing harm. The expert speakers looked specifically at so-called ‘legal highs’, more correctly known as ‘new pyscho-active substances’ and alcohol, particularly underage drinking.

The programme includes speaker biographies and the presentations include details of the forth-coming NPS law.

Using the internet to fight alcohol abuse

The Italian Ministry of Health is using two of the best communication tools geared to young people – the internet and music – to deliver an important message about alcohol. In Italy, like Europe as a whole, alcohol abuse is the leading cause of death and disability among people under 30.

To read more about the campaign (in Italian), click here on

Tackling Harmful Alcohol Use: Economics and Public Health Policy

Alcohol consumption has fallen slightly in OECD countries over the past twenty years but young people and women are drinking more. Alcohol is becoming more easily available, more affordable and advertised more effectively. Worldwide, alcohol is a leading cause of ill health and premature mortality, accounting for 1 in 17 deaths, and for an even larger proportion of disabilities, especially in men. In OECD countries, alcohol consumption is about twice the world average and its social costs are estimated in excess of 1% of GDP in high- and middle-income countries.

This book examines trends and social disparities in alcohol consumption, assessing the health, social and economic impacts of key policy options for tackling alcohol-related harms in Canada, the Czech Republic and Germany and extracting relevant policy messages for other countries.

To read the book online, click here on

Alcohol and Younger People

January 2013.  This event provided attendees with discussion on recent EU policy developments related to alcohol and younger people, including the role and responsibilities of marketing, advertising and sponsorship. Successful EU interventions on reducing harm and encouraging responsible handling of alcohol by younger people were showcased.

Speaker Details:

  • Aleksandra Kaczmarek, Policy Officer  – EUROCARE
  • Doriane Fuchs, Policy Coordinator for Health Promotion – European Public Health Alliance
  • Professor Kern, PH Zurich University

All three presentations contain interesting data on this topic.