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Swedes drink less alcohol: study

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Swedes drink less alcohol: study
13:35 CET+01:00
Swedish average alcohol consumption declined in 2009, in comparison with 2008, but remains high in a historical perspective, a new report published on Friday showed.

Average alcohol consumption, measured as litres of pure alcohol, amounted to 9.3 litres per person aged 15 and over, according to the report compiled by The Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs (SoRAD) at Stockholm University.

The figure represents a decline from the 9.5 litres recorded in 2008 and SoRAD concluded in its report that a further decline is anticipated in 2010.

"The decline in the total alcohol consumption which was noted nationally during 2009 covers the whole country as a result of a reduction of imports and smuggling," SoRAD concluded.

In real terms this means that an average Swede drank 5 litres of spirits, 30 litres of wine, 69 litres of strong and medium strength beer and around 3 litres of cider and mixed drinks.

The state-owned monopoly alcohol retailer Systembolaget accounted for an increasing proportion of beer and wine sales and, together with licensed premises and sales of medium strength beer, accounted for 78 percent of total consumption, up from 74 percent in 2008.

Systembolaget's sales accounted for 62 percent of total sales while import and smuggling accounted for 14 and 6 percent respectively; 10 percent was consumed in restaurants, 6 percent was accounted for by beer sold in grocery retail stores, and 2 percent was homemade.

Wine is the most popular drink of choice for Swedes, accounting for 41 percent of consumption, followed by beer and spirits on 35 and 22 percent respectively.

With regards to smuggling and import, there were significant regional variations highlighted in the report, with as much as 30 percent of the alcohol consumed in southern Sweden brought into the country this way.

Stockholm residents consumed the most alcohol on average in 2010, with around 10 litres of pure alcohol per person, while the province of Norrland came in lowest with 7.5 litres.

Norrbotten and Västerbotten in the north of Sweden, and Jönköping in central Sweden, lead the country when it comes to alcohol abstinence, with 35 percent of women and 25 percent of men eschewing the drink.

Despite the small total decline in recent years, alcohol consumption remains relatively high in a longer historical perspective, with 2009 consumption some 15-20 percent higher than in the middle of the 1990s.

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