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Alcohol consumption in Sweden continues to drop

Sunday, 05 June 2011
The availability of alcohol has never been easy and the cost of obtaining ones has never been this low, especially in Sweden where the product is highly controlled. However, there has been persistent reduction in the alcohol consumption in Sweden in the past months and the issues have created sole searching among scientists who don’t know why.

Recently, we reported that Swedish youths prefer drugs – such as cannabis to alcohol but it is not clear if this is the reason for the fall in alcohol consumption given that one would expect younger people to want to indulge in alcohol consumption more.

It also is not clears if it has to do with the Swedish alcohol policy which has been for long characterized by authorities as being too tough. Could this policy be winning the war against reckless alcohol consumption? Swedish alcohol policy has among that alcoholic drinks with alcoholic content of above 5 percent are sold in a government control retail shops called Systembolaget which closes on weekends, and carry strict checks before alcohol is told to the buyer.

But Swedish borders opened when the country joined the EU’s single market back in 1994 and authorities thought that they would loose the fight to control alcohol consumption. The Swedes' consumption seemed to increase thereafter seen by the amount of cheap booze crossing the border from Denmark and Germany. It was accounted then that the Swedes consumed more than two litres more in eight years than before that time.

In analyzing the consumption in detail, it was accounted that from having been at an average consumption rate of 8.0 litres of pure alcohol per person in 1996, the intake increased to 10.5 litres in 2004.

Europe was to be blamed for the perceived explosion of alcohol consumption in Sweden as such a research group at SoRAD, Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs at Stockholm University came in to assess the perceived extent of the alcohol explosion in southern Sweden. But there was a shocking revelation from their finding which showed a result that was not as expected:


"It was not just that consumption has not increased that much, we did not see any signs of damage such as drinking and driving, violence, increased mortality and similar vices that are associated with  alcohol, said researcher Mats Ramstedt from SoRAD to Swedish television news.

The trend continued such that since 2004 there has been a steady decline in alcohol consumption. In 2010 the Swedes drank an average of 9.1 liters of pure alcohol per person per year. Above all, the big drinkers, that is, men up to 40 years tend to drink less today and scientists do not know why.

“The fact that a group that has been drinking and drinking quite a lot, evident in the total consumption but suddenly dropped its level of consumption, we do not really know what caused it, "said Mats Ramstedt to Swedish television news program rapport.

In addition, the Swedes' support for a restrictive alcohol policy increased substantially in recent times, according to surveys by the SOM Institute at Gothenburg University.

The support for the monopoly increased while those who want to see a lower tax on alcohol has also decreased.

Facts of Alcohol consumption in Sweden
Here is how much alcohol is being consumed Swedes in seven different regions (liters / year. The figures are from 2009).
By Scancomark.se Team
Stockholm County: 10.0.
V�stra G�taland ( Gothenburg region): 9.6.
Blekinge Kronoberg / Halland: 8.9.
Other counties in Svealand: 8.8.
Other counties in G�taland: 8.6.
Sk�ne (Malm� region): 8.5.
Norrland: 7.5.
The whole country 9.3 (the figure for 2010 is 9.1).
Source Swedish television reference from SoRAD

Key Swedish Facts
Official Name Kingdom of Sweden
King Carl XVI Gustaf
Prime minister Frederick Reinfeldt
Population 9.3 Million
Capital City Stockholm
Monetary Unit Sweden Krona (SEK)
  1kr = 100 ore
Domain Name .se
Int. Dialling Code +46
Official Language Swedish - Main
Other minor languages
Religion Christianity
Main stock market Name NASDQ OMX
  • OMX 40
  • OMX 30
Internet Speed 5.7 Mbps (2009)
Vital Links
Statistics Sweden
Official gateway to Sweden
Government of Sweden
OECD  &  Sweden
Swedish Central Bank


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