Alcohol brands are marketing their booze as ‘wellness’ drinks in a desperate bid to recapture the market

Millennials are spending less money on alcohol than both baby boomers and Generation X, according to a Nerdwallet analysis of a 2017 Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey. The analysis notes, however, that they’re spending roughly the same percentage of their income – 1% – on alcohol. When they do drink, millennials tend to opt for wine and spirits as their drink of choice, which has created a crisis in the beer industry, as Business Insider’s Kate Taylor previously reported

Some millennials are flirting with giving up alcohol altogether, or at least drinking it more mindfully. This ties into the generation’s enthusiasm for wellness and self-care, which has prompted a boom in businesses like luxury wellness centers that offer vitamin IV drips for glowing skin, cryotherapy for workout recovery, and infrared sauna sessions to de-stress. For millennials, wellness is the ultimate modern luxury.

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New WHO factsheets reveal Europe struggles to implement policies to reduce alcohol consumption

The WHO European Region struggles with one of the highest levels of alcohol-related deaths in the world. To discuss effective and evidence-based ways to reverse this trend, Member States met in Stockholm, Sweden, at the first regional consultation focused on the implementation of the European action plan to reduce the harmful use of alcohol 2012–2020.

Participants reviewed ways to bring critical support to this process. The European action plan has supported the reduction of alcohol consumption since its adoption, but room for improvement remains. More than 3 million people died worldwide as a result of alcohol abuse in 2016, and 1 million of those deaths occurred in the European Region.

Read more about this on the WHO/Europe website:

Adolescents drink less, but alcohol consumption is still dangerously high

A new WHO report: “Adolescent alcohol-related behaviours: trends and inequalities in the WHO European Region, 2002–2014”, provides new insights into data collected over 12 years on adolescent drinking. The report reveals that alcohol use has declined among adolescents in Europe. However, despite the reductions, levels of consumption remain dangerously high and this continues to be a major public health concern.

For more information about the report on  Adolescent alcohol consumption

Alcohol ‘best buys’ by the WHO

Nearly 6% of all deaths worldwide were attributable to alcohol in 2012, with more than half caused by non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, cancer, liver disease and mental health disorders.

In the EU alone in 2014, 72,000 deaths due to alcohol-related diseases could have been avoided and globally it is estimated that 5.1% of the burden of disease as measured in disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) is attributed to alcohol consumption.

The World Health Organization has identified three priority actions for alcohol policy called their ‘Best Buys’:

  • Using taxation to help regulate demand for alcoholic beverages
  • Restrictions on the availability of alcoholic beverages
  • Comprehensive restrictions or bans on alcohol advertising.

To read the full article on the EPHA website: Why Europe urgently needs to buy into the alcohol ‘best buys’ 

Smoking and drinking damage teenagers’ arteries by age of 17

The arteries of teenagers who drink alcohol and smoke, even very occasionally, begin to stiffen by the age of 17, according to a new study. Such stiffening has been linked to heart and blood vessel problems later in life, such as heart attacks and strokes.

The study, published in the European Heart Journal on Wednesday, was based on data collected from more than 1,000 British adolescents, who provided details of their smoking and drinking habits at ages 13, 15 and 17.

“We found that in this large contemporary British cohort, drinking and smoking in adolescence, even at lower levels compared to those reported in adult studies, is associated with arterial stiffening and atherosclerosis progression,” the study’s senior author, Professor John Deanfield of University College London’s Institute of Cardiovascular Science, said in a statement.

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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 go to 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