Alcohol consumption on upward trend as Covid measures relaxed


Thai people spent 78.542 billion baht on alcoholic beverages and cigarettes in the fourth quarter of 2021, higher than in the previous year, the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) said on Monday.

NESDC deputy secretary-general Jinanggoon Rojananan said that there. was a 0.1 percentage point increase over 2020.

The spending on alcoholic beverages in the fourth quarter of 2021 amounted to 49.51 billion baht, up 1.2 per cent quarter on quarter.

Meanwhile, the spending on cigarettes in the fourth quarter of 2021 totalled 29.032 billion baht, decreasing by 2 per cent from the previous quarter.

The increase in consumption of alcoholic beverages was attributed to easing of Covid restrictions, which allowed restaurants to sell alcoholic beverages from December 1 including the New Year Festival.

Overall, the consumption of these products in 2021 was down 1.8 per cent over the previous year because entertainment venues were closed and sales hours were restricted as part of Covid control measures.

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Jinanggoon added that some citizens also wanted to be healthy, while the income of some people were lower so they had to exercise restraint.

The NESDC, however, wants the two behaviours to be monitored closely.

Alcohol drinking could reduce self-control, which raises the risk of getting infected with Covid-19 by two to three times. It also increases the risk of getting severe symptoms or death for those infected with Covid-19. Those who drink continuously might suffer from non-communicable diseases, the NESDC warned.

The NESDC also wants close scrutiny of electronic cigarettes. It could give smokers dual addictions, with even worse consequences for their health. It could be risky for smokers to suffer from brain fog syndrome, especially for people who smoke e-cigarettes before they turn 14 years. Therefore, e-cigarettes should be studied in every aspect before they are legalised, the NESDC said, adding, some measures are needed to reduce new smokers and health risks.