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1.5 million Czechs are at-risk drinkers, say experts

Experts estimate that 600,000 Czechs drink alcohol every day and more than 1.5 million are at-risk drinkers

Prague, Oct 22 (CTK) – Most Czechs consider three or more alcoholic drinks a day (44 percent) or two to three drinks a day (37 percent) problematic drinking, a survey that the National line for smoking cessation released today showed, although experts see one or two drinks a day as problematic.

“About 20 percent of the population that is at risk drinks two thirds of all the alcohol consumed,” Ladislav Csemy, from the National Institute of Mental Health, said.

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Experts estimated that 600,000 people drink alcohol every day and more than 1.5 million people are at-risk drinkers in the country with 10.5 million inhabitants. Experts consider two drinks a day for men and one a day for women usually to be risky drinking.

The social costs spent on drinking are over 59 billion crowns a year. The annual consumption is 11.7 litres of pure alcohol per capita.

The survey, which was conducted among nearly 1800 respondents in March, showed that 28 percent of Czechs are teetotallers or moderate consumers, 53 percent drink alcohol with a low risk, 12 percent with a high risk and 7 percent are problematic drinkers, including alcohol addicts.

The survey also showed that nearly everybody connected excessive drinking with kidney problems, cirrhosis, dementia and hardening of the arteries, most of them connected it with infertility risk, stomach cancer and large gut cancer, and one third of them with breast cancer, said Lukas Kohoutek, head of the Czech Coalition against Tobacco, which operated the National line for smoking cessation.

The Health Ministry is working on a bill limiting alcohol advertising, which is to be finished by the end of the year and offer alcohol only as a product, with no people in the ad.

The lower house of parliament is dealing with a tax package including higher taxation on spirits.

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