Germany’s drinking habits are hazardous, addiction report reveals

Germany’s drinking habits are hazardous, addiction report reveals

Germans’ vices are changing. While the trusted homeward-bound Wegbier and cigarette still help to shrug off the week of work, more people in the federal republic are frequently turning to online gambling to help them let go.

Germans are smoking fewer cigarettes

An annual, nationwide addiction report by the German Centre for Addiction Issues (DHS) has revealed that Germans are smoking and drinking alcohol less frequently, but gambling online much more.

Though tobacco consumption is still high, in 2022 people in Germany spent 27,1 billion euros on tobacco, 7,7 percent less than in the previous year. Among those smoking pre-rolled, straight cigarettes, consumption dropped by a considerable 8,3 percent, which led to a total of 65,8 billion cigarettes smoked last year.

The rollers, however, were indulging more than in previous years. In 2022 the consumption of tobacco for self-rolled cigarettes rose 0,9 percent, amounting to about 25.000 tonnes of rolling tobacco smoked in Germany throughout the year.

Among the more grandiose smoking habits like cigars and shisha, there were varying trends. Cigars and cigarillos were dropping out of the mouths of wannabe Capones, Churchills and Castros the federal republic over, with consumption down by 8,9 percent. When it comes to shisha, however, people in Germany are proving more hooked as the years go on.

On the whole, Germans are cutting down. But for DHS director Christina Rummel, the federal republic, where tobacco is still relatively cheap and smoking is still allowed inside in many venues, has some work to do on its attitude to smoking. “We must consistently continue to expand measures to sustainably reduce tobacco consumption and exposure to secondhand smoke”, Rummel said in the report.

Millions of Germans consume alcohol in an unhealthy manner

For Rummel, alcohol consumption in Germany is another area that should be regulated more acutely. According to the report, 7,9 million Germans consume alcohol in a manner that is “hazardous to health”, that is drinking a daily amount of more than one and a half units for women and three units for men, which equates to about two glasses of beer.

“Even though alcohol consumption has dropped further than in comparison to previous years, the amount of alcohol drunk in Germany is much more than the world average,” said DHS representative Norbert Scherbaum.

According to one author of the report, Ulrich John, “Even a small amount of alcohol can result in illness”. The alcohol researcher added that abstaining from alcohol can extend the life expectancy of women by 16 years and men by 10 years.

Online gambling likely more popular in Germany

An area of addiction with potentially greater financial consequences and more complex physical side effects, online gambling was up by 14,6 percent in 2021. This is largely due to an amendment to the State Gambling Treaty in July 2021, which allowed sports betting in Germany that in turn led to a turnover of 18,3 billion euros for the industry.

Coronavirus has meant that gambling has moved away from public spaces to the online sphere, where critics have pointed out that the design and layout of games have increasingly morphed into a more child-friendly style. While figures for 2022 are not yet available, Rummel added that the DHS is “taking a very critical view of this and are keeping a close eye on [the industry].”

Thumb image credit: aushilfe444 /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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