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Every fifth German has a drinking problem

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Every fifth German has a drinking problem
Youngsters enjoy themselves at Nuremberg's 'Rock in the Park'. Photo: DPA
18:25 CEST+02:00
One in five Germans has an alcohol problem, a leading health expert has estimated at the launch of a “dramatic” new report into addiction on Tuesday.

Germans are smoking less but still drinking too much, according to the German Centre for Addiction Issues. Launching the centre's Annual Addiction Report 2011 in Berlin on Tuesday, director Raphael Gaßmann, estimated one in five people aged 18 to 64 had a drinking problem.

“Alcohol consumption remains conspicuously too high, too risky, with too many consequences,” he said.

The report, a compilation of figures from 2009, showed that although the average amount of booze consumed, measured in pure alcohol, did fall slightly compared with 2008, it was too negligible to have any health benefit, Gaßmann said.

Moreover, the effects of binge drinking have become noticeably worse in recent years. The number of alcohol poisoning incidents climbed by nearly 112 percent between 2000 and 2009. Most disturbingly, such incidents rose 194 percent among people aged 20 to 25.

The results on binge drinking were “dramatic,” Gaßmann said.

The deaths of 73,000 people aged 35 to 65 could be traced back to “alcohol-related health problems” each year, which is about one fifth of all deaths, Gaßmann said. For men, the figure was roughly one in four.

On a brighter note, tobacco consumption has been dropping. It fell by 1.6 percent in 2009 and 3.8 percent in 2008. About 29 percent of Germans aged 18 to 64 smoke.

Among men, the figure is 32.8 percent and among women it is 25.5 percent. Between 110,000 and 140,000 people die each year from tobacco-related causes, the centre said.

The Local/djw

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