Yearbook Addiction 2022: Fewer cigarettes, but still a lot of alcohol

Status: 04/26/2022 09:09 a.m

Germans smoke less, but pipe tobacco is consumed more. And when it comes to alcohol, too, the Federal Republic remains a “high-consumption country,” experts warn in the current addiction annual report.

In Germany people smoke less on average. However, alcohol consumption remains high. This emerges from the Yearbook Addiction 2022, which is published by the German Center for Addiction Issues (DHS).

According to the report, 71.8 billion finished cigarettes were smoked nationwide last year – 2.8 percent fewer than in 2020. On average, there are 863 cigarettes consumed for every citizen. That is the lowest value since reunification. In 2020, 24 percent of women and 34 percent of men aged 18 and over smoked in Germany.

29.4 billion euros for tobacco products

Even hand-rolled cigarettes were therefore consumed less. Here, consumption fell by 5.6 percent, which, according to the survey, corresponds to around 37.3 billion cigarettes rolled by the user. However, the consumption of pipe tobacco has increased significantly. Here, the main office for addiction issues recorded an increase of 40 percent to almost 8,400 tons. The experts explain the increase with the continuing high popularity of hookahs, especially among teenagers and young adults.

Overall, Germans spent 29.4 billion euros on tobacco products last year. The most recent figures for deaths attributed to the consequences of smoking come from 2018: At that time, around 127,000 people across Germany died as a result of the consumption of tobacco products. According to the annual report, the overall economic costs – for example for the treatment of tobacco-related diseases – amounted to an estimated more than 97 billion euros.

Alcohol consumption remains high

Another result of the study is that too much alcohol is still drunk in Germany. Here, the experts at the main office for addiction issues refer to figures from 2019. In this year, every citizen aged 15 and over consumed an average of 10.2 liters of pure alcohol per year. In the long term, this means a decline, since in 1970 the average value was still 14.4 liters per capita. But despite this decline, the successes achieved through prevention and control policies are far from sufficient, warned DHS Managing Director Christina Rummel.

CEO Norbert Scherbaum also warned: alcohol is a cell poison and numerous physical illnesses can be attributed to alcohol consumption. The most recent statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) on alcohol-related deaths in Germany are from 2016, which according to Rummel is due to the fact that the WHO only conducts the study among 195 countries at longer annual intervals. That year, the organization counted about 62,000 alcohol-related deaths nationwide.

Also included in the Addiction Annual Report are legal gambling figures. The report shows a decline of around eleven percent in 2020. A total of 38.3 billion euros were made with legal gambling this year. The largest market segment is accounted for by the 220,000 commercial slot machines installed in amusement arcades and gastronomic establishments.

Possible burdens from the pandemic

From the point of view of the experts, it is not possible to conclude directly whether the effects of the corona pandemic have an impact on the topic of addiction. However, they point out that the pandemic has also severely affected the mental health of the population.

In crises, many people increasingly try to use addictive substances to compensate for their stress. In the opinion of the addiction help, the hardships caused by the pandemic are particularly difficult for young people and often aggravate the situation for people who already had psychosocial or health problems.

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