Europeans are drinking less alcohol

Overall alcohol consumption in the European Union has dropped 13 percent since 1980, according to a study released by the European Commission and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on December 7.

People living in traditional wine-producing countries (France, Spain and Italy) as well as Greece, Germany and the Slovak Republic, are drinking substantially less wine, the study, entitled Health at a Glance: Europe 2010, shows.

The French are drinking 35 percent less alcohol per year compared with consumption levels in 1980, while the Spanish are drinking 36 percent less and Italians are drinking 50 percent less.

Although alcohol consumption on the whole has decreased, this is not uniform across EU - the Finnish and the Irish are drinking roughly 30 percent more alcohol per year during the same time frame, and Brits have increased their annual alcohol intake by roughly 15 percent. 

European adults consume an average of 11 liters (3 gallons) of alcohol per year, while French, Estonians and Hungarians were the heaviest continental drinkers, consuming more than 12.5 (3.3 gallons) liters annually per adult.

The report attributed the decrease in alcohol consumption to curbs on advertising, sales restrictions, higher taxes and recent efforts made by the World Health Organization to raise awareness of the negative effects of alcohol.

Read the full report here: