EESC opinion: Alcohol related harm

Key points

Drinking patterns vary significantly across countries, but most consumers drink responsibly most of the time . Having said that, the EESC is concerned that 15% of the EU adult population are estimated to drink at harmful levels on a regular basis, and that children are the most vulnerable to the harms caused by alcohol.

Alcohol marketing is one of the factors that increases the likelihood that children and adolescents will start to use alcohol, and will drink more if they are already using alcohol. Given this, the EESC calls for a reduction in the exposure of children to alcohol marketing.

Appropriately designed alcohol pricing policies can be effective levers in reducing alcohol related harm, particularly among low income and young people. The EESC believes that regulation governing the availability, distribution and promotion of alcohol is needed; self-regulation in this area is not enough.

To raise awareness about the risk of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), the EESC supports national and EU level awareness-raising campaigns.

The EESC believes that more information is needed about the effects of harmful alcohol consumption on healthy and dignified ageing at an EU level.

The EESC recognises that alcohol policies should be comprehensive and include a variety of measures for which there is evidence of reducing harm.