A summary of key findings is as follows:
- The proportion of alcohol users decreased from 87% in 2015 to 85% in 2020 which is a 2% reduction.
- The number of people who were alcohol-free for the past 12 months increased from 14% in 2015 to 17% in 2020 – a 3% increase.
- Young men between the ages of 18 to 25 years have reduced heavy alcohol use from 65% in 2015 to 56% in 2020.
- About one third of people have gotten intoxicated from alcohol at least once in the past 12 months.
- For all groups alcohol intoxication is decreasing except for young women.
- With young women alcohol intoxication has increased.
- Older people still continue to consume more alcohol than younger people. 65 to 84 year olds consumed alcohol 65 times on average in the past year while the group of 18 to 29 year olds consumed an average of 32 times.
- Older people are consuming alcohol in fewer occasions than five years ago. In 2015 it was 76 times compared to the 65 times in 2020.
- Regarding problems associated with alcohol use, 28% felt guilty or remorse for consuming alcohol and 26% regretted something they did after consuming alcohol.
- The proportion of people who consumed alcohol with friends and family at least once a month has decreased.
- The proportion of women who have been negatively affected by a household member’s alcohol consumption has decreased from 9% in 2015 to 6% in 2020.
- Support for evidence-based alcohol policy solutions is high and in some cases even greater than 2015. More people want to ban alcohol advertising and more people believe that there should be restrictions on how late in the evening it should be possible to buy alcohol.
Special issues and trends
The gap between men’s and women’s alcohol consumption is closing. This is indicated in two findings in the study.
- More younger women are getting intoxicated on alcohol than in 2015.
- More younger women reported having done or said something they regretted, having a memory gap or getting into a fight due to their consumption of alcohol.
If you look at consumption as a whole, the consumption patterns of women and men have become closer to each other,” said Erica Sundin, one of the authors of the study.Erica Sundin, investigator, C.A.N.
The COVID-19 pandemic could have affected answers. The possible effect of the pandemic is seen through two findings.
- Fewer people are consuming alcohol once a month with friends and family.
- Older people are consuming alcohol less in 2020 than in 2015.
C.A.N. plans following up on these changes and whether the pandemic had an effect in future surveys.
Two realities: people want improved alcohol policies, some politicians are underming current alcohol policies
Support for an evidence-based alcohol policy remains high in Sweden and has even gotten stronger compared to 2015.
More people want to ban alcohol advertising and more people believe that there should be restrictions on how late in the evening it should be possible to buy alcohol.
Nevertheless, much of the alcohol policy debate has not been about improvements as people would support but instead focused on weakening the alcohol policy model in Sweden such as through allowing farm sales or through the proliferation of alcohol home delivery, which is in violation of the Swedish Alcohol Act.
The Swedish people’s support for strong alcohol policy has been explored in scientific studies. According to one study the reasons for people’s strong support for alcohol policy include:
- In Sweden alcohol policy is perceived as a societal question in the highest degree
- Even alcohol use problems and addiction are perceived as a social problem.
- It is also considered acceptable by the majority of the population that comprehensive and evidence-based measures are applied in order to solve the problem.
- Solidarity, accurate knowledge and sharp problem analysis explain more than egoism and personal experience.