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Launch of WHO/Europe Report - Making the European Region Safer: developments in alcohol control policies, 2010–2019 (2021)

15 April 2021

2021 SAFER-alcohol-control-factsheet-eng

Alcohol is recognised as a cause for more than 200 diseases and injuries, and in the European Region alone, alcohol use leads to almost 1 million deaths each year – about 2500 deaths every day.

The WHO/Europe has launched today a SAFER report that provides guidance for countries to implement high-impact alcohol policies.

The Report outlines that Ireland is one of 17 countries where alcohol consumption increased between 2010 and 2016.

It also states that in the WHO European Region 1 in 10 adult deaths are attributable to alcohol. Shockingly 1 in 4 deaths is alcohol attributable in 20–24-year-olds.

14.3% of alcohol attributable deaths are caused by cancer. Read the FactSheet here.

Alcohol poses a particular risk for mouth, head and neck cancer, and plays a role in the development of up to half of these cancers in men in Ireland. Cancer risk from alcohol varies for different parts of the body, the strongest association is for tissues that come into direct contact with alcohol such as the mouth, head and neck. Those who drink two or more standard drinks per day (i.e. 1 pint) are three times more likely to be diagnosed in their lifetime with these cancers compared with those who do not drink. If you smoke and drink the risk is even greater; compared to those who do not, those who both smoke and drink are up to 35 times more likely to be diagnosed with a cancer of the head and neck; alcohol acts as a solvent and eases the transfer of carcinogens from cigarettes through the body especially to exposed tissues in the mouth, head and neck. The more you drink the greater the risk of developing mouth, head or neck cancer. For more information on mouth head and neck cancer see 

Reduce your use of alcohol – drink less. Making lifestyle changes like this can make a big difference to your oral and general health.

If you need support see