Worldwide, 3.3 million deaths in 2012 were due to harmful use of alcohol, says a new report launched by the WHO today. Alcohol consumption can not only lead to dependence but also increases people’s risk of developing more than 200 diseases, including cirrhosis of the liver and some cancers. In addition, harmful drinking can lead to violence and injuries.
The report also finds that excessive use of alcohol makes people more susceptible to infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and pneumonia.
Some countries are already strengthening measures to protect people. These include increasing taxes on alcohol, limiting the availability of alcohol by raising the age limit and regulating the marketing of alcoholic beverages.
Globally, Europe is the region with the highest consumption of alcohol per capita, with some of its countries having particularly high consumption rates. A trend analysis shows that the consumption level has been stable over the last five years in the region, as well as in Africa and the Americas, though increases have been reported in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific.