Indians consumed 2.4 litres of alcohol in 2005, which increased to 4.3 litres in 2010 and scaled up to 5.7 litres in 2016

The per capita alcohol consumption in India increased two folds between 2005 and 2016, according to the Global status report on alcohol and health 2018 released by the World Health Organization (WHO)

Indians consumed 2.4 litres of alcohol in 2005, which increased to 4.3 litres in 2010 and scaled up to 5.7 litres in 2016, the report said.

According to the report, the highest increase in alcohol consumption is expected in South-East Asia, with an increase of 2.2 litres in India alone, from 2005 to 2016.

More than 3 million people died as a result of harmful use of alcohol in 2016, the report said. More than three quarters of those reported dead were men. Overall, the harmful use of alcohol causes more than 5% of the global disease burden.

The report highlighted that 51.1 men per 100,000 population and 27.1 women per 100,000 population suffered from liver cirrhosis. Cancers associated with alcohol abuse resulted in 181 men per 100,000 population and 126.4 women per 100,000 population.

Alcohol consumption in India doubled in 11 years: WHO report 1

Indians—men and women—are drinking more alcohol than a decade ago

Already among the world’s highest consumers of alcohol, India’s love for its drinks is growing rapidly.

Over the decade ending 2016, the country’s annual per capita spirits consumption more than doubled to 5.7 litres, according to a World Health Organisation study.

Despite this jump, India is behind China where the figure (ie per capita consumption of alcohol) stood at over 7 litres, the report said. India is also behind developed countries where it is at 10 litres .

Drinking fads

Over the years, higher disposable incomes, change in attitudes towards alcohol consumption, and the proliferation of an eating-out culture have spurred demand.

At $38 billion (Rs2.7 lakh crore) India’s alcohol market is among the world’s fastest growing. Globally, 6% of the industry’s growth was driven by India. Indians have a preference for whisky, consuming half of the world’s production. The country is also the world’s largest producer of whisky.

Alcohol consumption in India has grown across genders, though men remain way ahead of women.

But there is also the inevitable negative side to it. On an average, India reported 2,60,000 alcohol-related deaths annually caused by ailments and road accidents, WHO said in its study.

Yet, per capita consumption is only set to grow by another 2.2 litres by 2025, one of the highest jumps in south and east Asia, WHO said.

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