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French drinking habits change

Hard-drinking image takes a knock as survey shows alcohol blamed for 49,000 deaths a year

FRENCH people are drinking less and are no longer the world leaders in alcohol consumption according to new information revealed as a study showed alcohol was responsible for 49,000 deaths a year.

The study, which found nine per cent of deaths could be blamed on drink, showed that alcohol was a leading cause in 36,500 male deaths and 12,500 female deaths a year.

But the facts behind the statistics also showed major changes in French attitudes to drink – with the HuffPost saying alcohol consumption showed a strong decline year on year.
National statistics body Insee said consumption had been cut in half between 1960 and 2000, with much less wine being drunk, although it was still the preferred drink of French people, ahead of beer and spirits.

However, more than one in 10 French men still drink alcohol every day – 12% in 2010.

The reduction in drinking means France is no longer the world leader in alcohol consumption. It now sits in third place behind Russia and the UK, according to the World Health Organisation in 2011.

French people have also named alcohol as being more dangerous than both cannabis and tobacco, with a YouGov/Le HuffPost poll showing 41% of people put alcohol top of the list, with 35% for cannabis and 14% for tobacco (which is, nevertheless, responsible for 73,000 deaths a year).

The smoking ban has also led to lifestyle changes with French people no longer doing most of their drinking outside the home. A 2011 survey showed that where alcohol was consumed it was done 80% of the time at home or at friends’ homes – and 49% of that was at home.

A map of French drinking habits shows Bretons drink the most, with those in Ile-de-France drinking least. Basse-Normandie, Pays de la Loire, Poitou-Charentes, Aquitaine, Bourgogne and Midi-Pyrénées are strong areas for youth drinking but once they reach adult age the biggest drinkers live in Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Languedoc-Roussillon and, again, Midi-Pyrénées.
Photo: chiyacat - Fotolia.com

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