17 November 2021 In Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: In many countries, lockdown measures were implemented to curb the COVID-19 pandemic. This situation may have an impact on mental health, tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption. The aim of this research report is therefore to describe changes in tobacco and alcohol consumption in the general French population during the first 2 weeks of lockdown and identify any associated factors.

METHODS: Self-reported changes in smoking and alcohol consumption following the lockdown implemented in France on 17 March 2020 were collected from 2003 respondents aged 18 years and older in an online cross-sectional survey carried out from 30 March to 1 April 2020. Anxiety and depression levels were assessed using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale.

RESULTS: Among current smokers, 26.7% reported an increase in their tobacco consumption since lockdown and 18.6% reported a decrease, while it remained stable for 54.7%. The increase in tobacco consumption was associated with an age of 18-34 years, a high level of education, and anxiety. Among alcohol drinkers, 10.7% reported an increase in their alcohol consumption since lockdown and 24.4% reported a decrease, while it remained stable for 64.8%. The increase in alcohol consumption was associated with an age of 18-49 years, living in cities of more than 100 000 inhabitants, a high socio-professional category, and a depressive mood.

CONCLUSIONS: The national lockdown implemented in France during the COVID-19 pandemic influenced tobacco and alcohol consumption in different ways according to sociodemographic group and mental health.

17 November 2021 In Drinking Patterns

This paper explores trends in beverage preference in adolescents, identifies related regional differences, and examines cluster differences in key drinking measures. Data were obtained from the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD), covering 24 European countries between 1999 and 2019. Trends in the distribution of alcoholic beverages on the participants' most recent drinking occasion were analysed by sex and country using fractional multinomial logit regression. Clusters of countries based on trends and predicted beverage proportions were compared regarding the prevalence of drinkers, mean alcohol volume and prevalence of heavy drinking. Four distinct clusters each among girls and boys emerged. Among girls, there was not one type of beverage that was preferred across clusters, but the proportion of cider/alcopops strongly increased over time in most clusters. Among boys, the proportion of beer decreased, but was dominant across time in all clusters. Only northern European countries formed a geographically defined region with the highest prevalence of heavy drinking and average alcohol volume in both genders. Adolescent beverage preferences are associated with mean alcohol volume and heavy drinking at a country-level. Future approaches to drinking cultures need to take subpopulations such as adolescents into account.

22 October 2021 In Drinking Patterns

During the early months of 2020, the world experienced a novel, violent, and relentless pandemic era. By the end of the year more than seventy-seven million cases of COVID-19 had been reported around the globe. Due to it being a highly contagious disease, the recommended measures adopted by most nations to prevent infection include social distancing and quarantine. How did these measures affect people's relationship with alcohol consumption in cultures where alcohol plays an important social role? A questionnaire-based study, designed to follow the drinking behaviour of people before and during lockdown was applied to two different cultural groups impacted by the pandemic during the strict phase of lockdown. These are the British and Spanish populations (179 participants from each country were interviewed). Considering the frequency of consumption of the alcoholic beverages evaluated (wine, beer, cider, whisky and spirits), the results showed that a significant lockdown*country interaction was observed. Overall, Spanish participants consumed alcoholic beverages less frequently during lockdown than before, while British participants reported no change in their consumption habits. Spaniards' decrease in alcohol consumption is related to the absence of a social contexts while Britons seems to have adapted their consumption to the modified context. Results suggest that, alcohol consumption is a central core of the British culture, while for the Spanish, socialization is more a cultural characteristic than the alcohol itself.

22 October 2021 In Drinking Patterns

The aim of this study was to evaluate the longitudinal changes in alcohol consumption (total alcohol and types of alcoholic beverages) of the Greek EPIC cohort participants (28,572) during a 17-year period (1994-2011), with alcohol information being recorded repeatedly over time. Descriptive statistics were used to show crude trends in drinking behavior. Mixed-effects models were used to study the consumption of total alcohol, wine, beer and spirits/other alcoholic beverages in relation to birth cohort, socio-demographic, lifestyle and health factors. We observed a decreasing trend of alcohol intake as age increased, consistent for total alcohol consumption and the three types of beverages. Older birth cohorts had lower initial total alcohol consumption (8 vs. 10 g/day) and steeper decline in wine, spirits/other alcoholic beverages and total alcohol consumption compared to younger cohorts. Higher education and smoking at baseline had a positive association with longitudinal total alcohol consumption, up to +30% (vs. low education) and more than +25% (vs. non-smoking) respectively, whereas female gender, obesity, history of heart attack, diabetes, peptic ulcer and high blood pressure at baseline had a negative association of -85%, -25%, -16%, -37%, -22% and -24% respectively. Alcohol consumption changed over age with different trends among the studied subgroups and types of alcohol, suggesting targeted monitoring of alcohol consumption.

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