Czechs are among the biggest spenders on alcohol, and tobacco. A separate research shows that 1.5 million Czechs are at-risk drinkers.
The average Czech drinks 14.4 liters of pure alcohol a year, which is twice as much as the global average with Czech men consuming four times more alcohol than women, according to a poll conducted by leading research agency MEDIAN for the Ministry of Health.
And it turns out, perhaps unsurprisingly, that the average Czech man’s drink of choice is beer, followed by spirits and wine.
“We are particularly alarmed for pregnant women drinking alcohol,” says Jarmila Vedralová, Director of the Department of Drugs Policy. “Every third person thinks that drinking small amounts of alcohol during pregnancy is okay. It is not. This must be clear,” she added.
The survey shows that every twentieth person in the Czech Republic drinks alcohol shortly before going to sleep. “And that can lead to long-term dependence,” says Denisa Kalouskova of Health Ministry. “For example, it is little known that excessive and regular drinking also increases the risk of cancer, heart attack or psychiatric disorders. Thereafter, the treatment of these diseases is extremely expensive.”
Germany, the Czech Republic, and Lithuania are the heaviest-drinking countries in Europe, while Norway and Italy recorded the lowest consumption of alcohol across the continent.
In 2016, alcohol killed 291,100 people in Europe, more than ten times the number of traffic accidents in that year – this represents about 800 deaths per day and 5.5 percent of all deaths in Europe in that year.
Of all alcohol-attributable deaths in Europe, 76.4 percent are due to diseases, such as cancer, liver cirrhosis, and cardiovascular disease, and 18.3 percent are caused by injuries, such as road traffic accidents, suicides, and murders.
“We do not see as strong of a response from the political representation as we do in the tobacco sector,” said Srdan Matic, representative of WHO in the country, during a conference on alcohol and tobacco.
He said measures like restricted availability, limited advertising, and price increase are efficient and easy to introduce.
The eighth annual Dry February, aimed at highlighting the dangers of excessive drinking, began on February 1st. The campaign aimed at encouraging Czech men to abstain from alcohol for the month.
The event is organized by the group League of Open Men but is also encouraging women to not drink a drop of alcohol during February.