Sweden: Alcohol Use Keeps Declining
According to a new report by CAN, the Central Association for Alcohol and Drug Information, alcohol use is continually declining in Sweden.
The new report “Population’s Self-Reported Alcohol Habits 2004-2018” shows how alcohol consumption developed in different groups of the population during the 2000s. The report details consumption patterns according to different age groups, gender, type of alcohol and time of year.
The results show, among other things:
- Alcohol consumption is decreasing in Sweden, with the highest decline reported in men under 50 years of age.
- 4 out of 5 in the adult population consumed alcohol during a 30-day period.
- Alcohol consumption is most common during Fridays and Saturdays. Nearly four times as many consumed alcohol, for example, on a Saturday compared to a Monday in 2018.
- Similarly, alcohol consumption varies during the year. The largest is alcohol intake during the summer months. Compared to November, for example, 50% more alcoholic beverages are consumed during the month of July.
- Alcohol consumption has increased among people over the age of 65.
On average, alcohol is consumed on 5.2 days in a 30 day period. Most Swedes, most of the time are alcohol-free. The number of occasions where people consume alcohol has NOT increased since 2004.
Young Swedes (17-29 years) consume alcohol more seldom compared to older Swedes (65-85 years). In a 30 day period, young people consume alcohol on average on 4.1 days.
However, young people engage four times more often in heavy episodic alcohol use compared to older people. If and when young people use alcohol, they engage in binge alcohol use approximately on every third occasion. By comparison, older people engage in heavy episodic alcohol use on every 20th occasion.
Simply said: young people use alcohol more rarely but when they consume alcohol it tends to be binge intake. Over time, the binge consumption has however been declining, mainly thanks to reductions in people below the age of 50.
The fact that heavy episodic alcohol use is declining is positive from a public health perspective, especially considering alcohol’s social harms.