The second-hand effects of alcohol are pervasive affecting, in principle, all major parts of society, e.g. fetal alcohol effects, lower grades in school, injuries, violence and cost for medical care.
Second-hand harm due to alcohol refers to the harms to society and to individuals around those who consume alcohol.
The products and practices of the alcohol industry are causing serious social harm and costs to people, communities, and societies.
Second-hand harm due to alcohol
Alcohol is different from other risk factors in its multifaceted impact, in the medical domain as well as in the social.
Alcohol is a major obstacle to sustainable development and economic prosperity.
The second-hand harm of alcohol consumption occurs in all areas of society and can involve anything from traffic accidents, through violence and abuse in both personal relationships and the public space, to children being neglected and a loss of the capacity for work.
Second-hand alcohol harm is an important aspect of the total burden of harm caused by the alcohol industry. Alcohol’s second-hand harm affects family members, friends, co-workers and strangers. Some examples are emergency room staff, police, taxi drivers, children of households with alcohol use problems, children born with foetal alcohol syndrome, road traffic fatalities, or victims of alcohol violence – especially gender-based violence.
Socially most harmful drugs
- Alcohol is the only substance that causes more harm to others than to users themselves.
- Socially, alcohol is the most harmful drug.
- driven by wide and easy psychological, social, physical, and financial availability.
- Comparing the effects of 20 psychoactive drugs across multiple domains, alcohol caused the greatest overall harm and the greatest harm to others.
- Total alcohol burden – combining direct and indirect harm – is nearly double that of the total tobacco burden.
- Alcohol’s second-hand harm was three times that for tobacco
- Alcohol was the only substance which caused greater harm to others than harm to the user.
- In high-income countries, more than half the economic costs due to alcohol are borne by those other than the alcohol user (e.g., costs borne by government or individuals not causing the costs)
- 50,000 Swedish households experience financial problems due to a family member’s alcohol use,
- 30% of Swedish adults have had a negative alcohol-related experience involving a family member or close associate in the past year, and
- 10% of Swedish adults have had a negative alcohol-related experience involving a stranger.