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On the occasion of the end-of-year holidays, Luxembourg’s Ministry of Health and Social Security are organising a campaign to raise awareness among the population of the risks of alcohol and encourage moderated consumption as they celebrate the end-of-year holidays.

During this time of year, part of the population tends to increase their alcohol consumption. Whether at work, with friends or during family meals, alcohol is often an integral part of these convivial moments. It is therefore important to remember the harmful effects of alcohol and particularly the consequences that excessive consumption can have, the ministries emphasised.

Identified as a major pathogen, alcohol has a considerable impact on the health of individuals and society as a whole. Alcohol is the cause of 60 medical conditions including certain cancers and its consumption is accompanied by an increased risk of injury, violence or accidents. Its use is also correlated with a reduction in economic efficiency and the emergence of urban and social disorders such as absenteeism, a drop in productivity, a drop in performance or even an increase in crime.

 Alcohol in figures at European level and in Luxembourg

According to a 2019 World Health Organization (WHO) report, The European region holds the record for the highest per capita alcohol consumption globally, along with the highest percentage of alcohol consumers. Within the European Union, 8.4% of the population consumes alcohol daily. Alcohol-related incidents contribute to about 1 million deaths annually in the European region, with a significant number occurring at a young age (average age: 21.2 years for women and 27.5 years for men), primarily due to accidents.

According to Eurostat, in 2019, Luxembourg was in third position among the countries with a rate of excessive alcohol consumption in Europe. 34.3% of residents report drinking excessively at least once a month.

Furthermore, a 2019 European Health Interview Survey (EHIS) study published by the Health Directorate and the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH), indicated that in Luxembourg around 43% of the population over fifteen years old consumes alcohol weekly, and almost 9% consume it daily. Finally, according to a 2022 HBSC study (Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children), almost half of young people aged between eleven and eighteen (42.7%) have already consumed alcohol during their lives.

In Luxembourg, drunk driving is the second cause of road accidents. In 2022, the road traffic report counted fifteen deaths and 36 serious injuries linked to drunk driving.

Say no to too many drinks

The campaign aims to encourage moderate consumption by saying no to too many drinks. To reduce health risks, the Ministry of Health and Social Security recommends not exceeding two glasses.

The following practical ideas may help reduce alcohol consumption during the end-of-year celebrations:

  • when arriving at a party, setting a limit before even starting drinking can help to maintain control over consumption;
  • taking the time to savour one’s drink, keeping each sip in one’s mouth long enough to enjoy the flavour of the drink;
  • varying the drinks by trying alcohol-free products (of which there are hundreds), such as mocktails;
  • alternating alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks – the latter are more refreshing;
  • opting for periods without alcohol more often to reduce any risk of dependence;
  • eating before and during drinking;
  • talking to one’s loved ones about the “low drinking” approach - they can help provide additional support.

A part of the campaign also includes action plans for employers to help them find alternatives during staff parties.