46 businesses and NGOs take action to curb alcohol abuse in Europe

08/05/2008

EU Commissioner for Health, Androulla Vassiliou welcomed the commitments made by 46 businesses and non-governmental organisations to curb alcohol abuse at the European Alcohol and Health Forum in Brussels, today. This initiative brings together stakeholders to commit to concrete actions. To date, the forum has received a total of 78 commitments from companies and health groups ranging from midwives and doctors associations, European temperance societies, public health NGOs to Heineken International, Bacardi-Martini and Moët Hennessy to retailers including the Delhaize group and Ahold N.V..

EU Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou said: "I am impressed by the number and scope of the commitments by Forum members within these first 10 months of the Forum's existence. We shall be ambitious; more can and should be done to achieve results. We need to continue this good collaborative effort and I look forward to seeing these commitments translated into concrete action.". The Commissioner stressed that she particularly expects the alcoholic beverages industry to market their products responsibly, and not to target adolescents. "All relevant stakeholders are called upon to contribute to changing attitudes and behaviours, especially among young people. We simply cannot accept that the inappropriate use of alcohol damages the health – and destroys the education and employment perspectives – of so many young men and women".

It is estimated that harmful alcohol use kills approximately 200,000 people a year in the EU. Harmful alcohol consumption is responsible for one in four deaths among young men aged 15-29 and one in 10 deaths of women in the same age group.

According to the special Eurobarometer on Alcohol published in 2007, one in 10 Europeans usually drink five or more drinks in one session, which is the widely used definition of binge drinking for men. This figure was particularly high among the youngest respondents. Almost one in five young people in the 15-24 age group (19%) drink five or more alcoholic beverages in one session.

Therefore, it is no surprise that the vast majority of Europeans, according to the same Eurobarometer, would welcome measures to protect vulnerable groups of society and to reduce death by road accidents.

Source and more information: http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/08/589&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

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