Which Country Has The Most Boozers?

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Written By Hossein Soltani

Expats are known for liking a drink or two, but surprisingly, Brits rank lower than you would think as serious drinkers.

The British drink 11.45 litres of pure alcohol per person yearly, says the World Health Organisation, but that’s a mere drop in the ocean compared to other nationalities.

Europeans drink the most alcohol, while much of Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia hardly touch a drop.

Some of the smallest countries turn out to be the biggest drinkers.

The WHO has data showing 92 per cent of adults in Luxembourg are regular drinkers – the highest proportion in the world. Regular means having at least one alcoholic drink in the previous 12 months.

Other nations liking a tipple include Ireland, Switzerland, Austria and Germany.

Europeans Drink More Than Most

Overall, the WHO data reveals at least two-thirds of adults in most European countries drink alcohol, compared with only an average of 10 per cent in the Middle East and North Africa.

Nationalities with the lowest alcoholic intake include Libya, where only 0.1 per cent of adults had a drink over 12 months.

Kuwaitis rarely raise a glass – just 0.6 per cent of adults, while 0.7 per cent of adults had a drink in Afghanistan or Yemen.

Of course, many of these countries have strict religious and cultural reasons for avoiding alcohol.

The WHO went on to measure who drank the most alcohol – and although Luxembourg registers, drinkers in the tiny nation are far from Europe’s biggest drinkers.

The Czech Republic takes that honour, quite befitting for the home of pilsner lager.

The World’s Biggest Alcohol Drinkers

Czech Republic14.26 litres
Latvia13.19 litres
Moldova12.85 litres
Germany12.79 litres
Lithuania12.78 litres
Ireland12.75 litres
Spain12.67 litres
Uganda12.48 litres
Bulgaria12.46 litres
Luxembourg12.45 litres
Source: World Health Organisation

Countries Drinking The Least Alcohol

Somalia, Bangladesh, Kuwait, Mauretania and Saudi Arabia0 litres
Afghanistan0.013 litres
Libya0.027 litres
Yemen0.034 litres
Egypt0.14 litres
Syria0.19 litres
Bhutan0.21 litres
Indonesia0.22 litres
Pakistan0.31 litres
Djibouti0.36 litres
Source: World Health Organisation

Dangers Of Binge Drinking

The difference between drinkers is those who stop after one or two glasses and those who binge drink.

The WHO looked at the data and defined a heavy drinker as someone who has had a session of six or more alcoholic drinks at least once in the past 30 days.

This data shifted the geography dramatically to Africa – except for Russia, Papua New Guinea and the Cook Islands in the Pacific.

Equatorial Guinea turned out to be the world’s binge drinking hotspot, with 88 per cent of adults having a session. Not far behind were Gabon (86.2 per cent), Congo (82.6 per cent), Angola (81.6 per cent) and the Cook Islands (81 per cent).

The least likely to have had a binge session were drinkers in Yemen (1.9 per cent), Afghanistan and Syria (2 per cent), Libya (2.1 per cent) and Saudi Arabia (2.9 per cent).

Why Drinking Isn’t Good For You

Many people believe drinking a glass of wine a day is good for them, but however good the wine is, alcohol does not help anyone live longer.

Researchers looked at more than 100 studies covering more than 5 million people and found even moderate alcohol consumption was not good for the body.

The risk of death increased on consuming less than an ounce of alcohol for women and 1.5 ounces for men. The servings are far less than drinkers expect when in a bar or home.

Drinkers consuming more than two ounces of alcohol a day face the highest risk of death, measured at around 35 per cent more than moderate drinkers. The risks are even more for women as they metabolise alcohol differently from men.

What Is A Standard Drink?

Standard Alcoholic Drink
Source: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Where Drinking Is A Crime

In some countries, drinking alcohol is punishable as a crime.

For example, under Iran’s penal code, drinking alcohol is punishable by 80 lashes. Should someone be convicted on a fourth occasion, the penalty is death. Although rarely imposed, Amnesty International believes the death sentence for drinking alcohol has not been carried out for over a decade.

However, unconfirmed reports suggest a senior North Korean defence official was executed for having an alcoholic drink during the 100-day mourning period for former leader Kim Jong-Il.

Drinking Alcohol FAQ

Does drinking alcohol trigger serious illnesses?

The World Health Organisation argues alcohol can cause more than 200 diseases and other conditions. Drinkers risk developing health issues, and mental and behavioural disorders.

What is alcohol?

An alcoholic drink contains ethanol, a psychoactive drug produced by fermenting grain, fruits or other sources of sugar.

Is beer or wine better to drink than spirits?

No – it’s the amount of alcohol that counts, not the type of drink. One 12-ounce beer has about the same amount of alcohol as one 5-ounce glass of wine or 1.5-ounce shot of liquor.

What makes someone a heavy drinker?

Different levels of alcohol can have varying effects on drinkers, but in general, a heavy drinker is a man consuming 15 drinks or more per week. For women, heavy drinking is consuming eight drinks or more per week.

Who shouldn’t drink alcohol?

No one should drink excessively, but some people should avoid drinking, including:
– Children
– Pregnant women
– Those on medication that can mix badly with alcohol
– Those who are recovering from an alcohol-related illness

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