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“Any alcohol consumption, even low”, carries a health risk, concludes Inserm


While many French people are delighted to be able to once again have a drink on the terrace in these times of Covid, the news falls like a cleaver: there is no threshold below which alcohol is without risk to health, assert from Inserm experts this Friday, June 4.

“Any consumption even weak has a deleterious effect on health “, they point out in a report by“Collective expertise” on reducing the harm associated with alcohol, consumed by nearly 43 million people in France.

Consumption levels remain high, especially among young people, whereas in France there are “41,000 deaths per year (including 11,000 women) for an estimated social cost of 118 billion euros”, they note in this 700-page document, accompanied by recommendations.

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Several recommendations

They therefore recommend toughening the Evin law of 1991, “Considerably weakened” in recent years, by banning advertising on the internet and in public spaces, and by increasing the price (by taxing drinks by the gram of alcohol or with a minimum price as in Scotland).

They also suggest to “Reduce the availability of alcohol” (via the sales time slots and the number of businesses or licenses) and “Recall the benchmarks of low-risk consumption” (no more than two drinks per day and not every day) as well as “The greatest biological vulnerability of women to alcohol”.

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Experts also deplore that “The resources allocated” to fight against this scourge are not “Up to the stakes”.

According to two studies, regular consumption (10 or more times per month) concerns one in ten young people in second year and one in four young people in terminal. People over 50 are not left out: since 2013, their level of alcohol consumption has increased, in particular episodes of“Significant occasional alcoholism” (express drinking or “binge drinking”) and risky alcohol consumption (more than two drinks a day).

“Stop saying it’s good for the heart”

This new expertise was carried out at the request of the Directorate General for Health and the Interministerial Mission for the fight against drugs and addictive behavior (Mildeca). The previous one dated from 2001.

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Alcohol consumption is directly or indirectly responsible for around sixty diseases, including cancers such as breast cancer and cardiovascular disease. It is also the first cause of hospitalization and the second cause of avoidable death in France (after tobacco), remind the experts, who deny it any protective effects.

“We must stop saying it’s good for the heart”, launches about red wine Mickaël Naassila, Inserm researcher of the Research Group on Alcohol and Drug Dependencies in Amiens.



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