In crisis, people smoke and drink more

The corona crisis and lockdown appear to be causing people to indulge more in their vices. Data from the Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung showed that sales of alcoholic beverages increased by around six percent in the first weeks of the lockdown. But that could also be due to bulk purchases. That is why the Central Institute for Mental Health (ZI) in Mannheim and the Nuremberg Clinic conducted an online study in which 3,200 people were interviewed. 37 percent of respondents said they drank more than before during the lockdown. The situation is similar for smokers too: over 40 percent smoked more than before. “Stress from contact restrictions, the invisible threat, short-time work, closed schools and kindergartens – many people were nerve-wracked”, the authors of the study explained.

It was also shown that respondents with less school education and a higher level of subjective stress consumed more alcohol and tobacco during the shutdown period. “This raises concerns that the risk of developing alcohol addiction is particularly high in this group,” says Prof. Dr. Falk Kiefer, who led the study. It is, therefore, important to inform people about the risks and possible long-term consequences of increased alcohol and tobacco consumption and to develop medical and social support services. The combination of increased alcohol consumption and increased stress could lead to increased aggression potential. This increases the risk of domestic violence, says Kiefer.

The study is published in: Deutsches Ärzteblatt 2020; 117 (25): A-1251 / B-1060.


Foto: Claudia Hautumm/Pixelio

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