top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
arrow down

Almost quarter of people in France drink more alcohol than recommended

Santé publique France advises that people do not drink more than 10 units of alcohol per week, but found that a significant percentage regularly exceeds that amount

A man looking fed up with a drink in front of him

Unemployed men are among the groups more likely to drink excessively Pic: fizkes / Shutterstock

Almost a quarter of people in France aged 18-75 drink too much and regularly exceed recommended alcohol limits, new health figures suggest.

Health authority Santé publique France highlighted the figures for 2020 in its latest health barometer, which was published this week. The barometer studies topics such as nutrition, tobacco and alcohol use, wellbeing, sleep, lifestyle, and vaccine practices.

The results showed that 23.7% of people in France aged 18-75 exceed national recommended limits on the consumption of alcohol, as established by the authority in conjunction with l'Institut national du cancer in 2017.

And while the statistic has been dubbed ‘worrying’, it has remained stable in the past few years, rising just 0.1% since 2017, when the figure was 23.6%.

Gender, age, and income split

Men are more likely than women to exceed the recommended levels, with 33.2% of men drinking too much compared to 14.7% of women. These numbers have also remained stable since 2017 (33.4% and 14.3% respectively).

Drinking habits differ considerably by age, with young people more likely to drink less frequently, but drink much more when they do consume.

Socio-economic status also has an impact. 

These sections of society are more likely than others to drink too much:

  • Women with a high-level degree

  • Unemployed men

  • Men and women on high incomes

Recommended levels

Santé publique France recommends that people do not drink more than 10 units (“standard drinks”) of alcohol per week.

The authority stated: “If you drink alcohol, it is recommended to limit your health risks over your lifetime: to consume no more than 10 standard drinks per week and no more than 2 standard drinks per day.”

It also recommends that people have days in the week without drinking any alcohol at all.

It added that the new findings would “help improve targeting of prevention campaigns, while taking into account social health inequality.”

10-year health plan

It comes less than six months after the French government announced a long-term plan aimed at reducing the number of avoidable cancers, including those caused by excess alcohol consumption.

The plan aims to reduce avoidable cancers by 60,000 a year by 2040.  

Tobacco is the main cause of the illness, with alcohol second, followed by poor diet, and then lack of exercise. Studies carried out as part of the plan found that in France, 10% of adults drink 68% of all alcohol sold.

Related articles

French firm sees ‘wine-in-a-can’ sales boom – but most are for export

France's 10-year plan aims to cut high number of avoidable cancers

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Visa and residency cards for France*
Featured Help Guide
- Visas and residency cards (cartes de séjour) for France help guide - Understand when visas and residency cards are required to move to France or come for an extended stay - Applies to Britons (post-Brexit) and to all other non-EU/non-EEA/Swiss nationalities - Useful to anyone considering a move to France, whether for work or otherwise, or wanting to spend more than three months at their French second home
Get news, views and information from France
You have 2 free subscriber articles left
Subscribe now to read unlimited articles and exclusive content
Already a subscriber? Log in now