Thursday 21 November 2013

Yet another Alcohol Awareness Week lie

And there's more...

They mean increasing, of course. They were probably drunk by this stage. So, has alcohol consumption been increasing in the UK while it's been decreasing in much of Europe?

In 2010, per capita alcohol consumption was 7.4 litres in the UK.

In 2006, it was 8.4 litres.

In 2000, it was 7.6 litres.

In 1990, it was also 7.6 litres.

In 1980, it was very slightly lower, at 7.3 litres (BBPA Statistical Handbook 2012; p. 100).

The modern peak in alcohol consumption arrived about ten years and the subsequent decline has not gone unnoticed in such BBC news stories as 'Alcohol consumption falls again' and 'Why is alcohol consumption falling?' From the former comes the graph below which shows that—despite a change in methodology—alcohol consumption is falling, not 'uncreasing' (sic). Indeed, it is falling at a faster rate than at any time since WWII.

And here's a little visual stimulation about the 16 to 24 age group courtesy of the Sunday Times:

And, for good measure, here are the stats for school pupils:

How does this compare with our continental cousins? The graph below shows that the UK has the fifth lowest per capita consumption in the EU. The EU average is 8.6 litres while Britain—shown on the far right of the graph—drinks a measly 7.4 litres. As ever, click to enlarge.

To be (very) generous to the temperance lobby, perhaps they are referring to long-term trends over several decades. It is true that there has been a rise in alcohol consumption since 1970 (from 5.3 litres to 7.4 litres). Nearly all of this rise occurred in the 1970s. How does this compare to the rest of Europe, much of which is seeing 'declining consumption', according to Alcohol Concern?

Of the 17 EU countries which have data going back to 1970, nine have seen alcohol consumption rise and eight have seen it decline. The biggest declines have been seen in France, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Italy, all of which had per capita consumption figures in the teens in the '70s and '80s. The UK hasn't had such high alcohol consumption for at least a century and, of those five countries, all except Italy continue to consume more alcohol than the UK.

In recent years (since 2006), it is certainly true that many European countries have seen a decline in alcohol consumption. Only four EU states have seen a rise, but the UK is not one of them. On the contrary, it has seen one of the sharpest declines.

The facts are plain to see for those look at the data. There are three key points...
  • Across any measure, alcohol consumption has been falling in Britain for a decade. 
  • Most European countries have been drinking more than us for many, many years and continue to do so.
  • Alcohol Concern are miserable liars.


This woman's pants may well be on fire:


Fredrik Eich said...

"Alcohol Concern are miserable liars."
Government funded liars.

Mark Wadsworth said...

I think you ought to amend the bullet points to say that alcohol consumption is falling in the UK and in most of Europe.

Furor Teutonicus said...

Bollox all round. The German figures, for example;


NO, that is NOT the same as BUYING.

The amount of beer glasses I have seen sent back still a quarter full, because the beer is warm, would be enough to fill a small sized Ocean.

But you can bet your bottom Reichsmark, that those dregs will be counted in with the figures.

Ivan D said...

I would love to know how much of the rise during the 70s was down to it becoming socially acceptable for half of the population to be seen going out for a drink. I have never been able to find a really good study.

Michael J. McFadden said...

What always amazes me is the way Anti-whatevers seem to have NO shame about lying. I know that on the rare occasions when I find I've had a brain fart and mis-stated something publicly, I am VERY upset and work as fast as possible to apologize and explain the mistake.

Are the Antis really stupid enough to believe this sort of thing doesn't hurt them? Or are they counting on the powers of their microphones to overwhelm any counter-effect that their critics might have when offering corrections?


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