Colombia’s tobacco consumption down, alcohol use increases: UN Report

Posted on Jul 23 2014 - 10:53am by Today News
(Photo: Taringa)
A United Nations (UN) study has shown that tobacco consumption was reduced in the last five years, though alcohol consumption did increase during the same time period, local news reported last week.

More than 30,000 Colombians between the ages of 12 and 65 took part in the 2013 National Study of the Consumption of Psychoactive Substances in Colombia, which was co-sponsored by the United Nations (UN), the Organization of American States (OAS), and the United States Embassy in Colombia. The study was published last week on the UNODC website.

Tobacco use and alcohol are the substances most widely consumed in Colombia, the report concluded. It highlighted that while tobacco consumption in Colombia across all categories of study has decreased between 2008 and 2013,  in contrast alcohol consumption amid various demographics such as women and young adults aged 18-24 has witnessed an increase.

Alcohol Use

The study, of about 29,000 people from across Colombia, showed that alcohol consumption generally decreased between 2008 and 2013, though between various demographic groups there are increases in consumption.

However, the report also indicated that the consumption of alcoholic beverages in underage children between 12 and 17 years old was one in five, highlighting the risk of underage drinking and the potential ease of access to alcohol that adolescents may have not only in stores but in their own houses as well.

In a surprising finding, the report concluded that around 87% of the study participants in both 2008 and 2013 said that they had consumed alcohol at least once in their lives.

When asked if they had consumed alcohol in the past year, the statistics dropped to 60.23% in 2008 compared to 58.78% in 2013. The numbers dropped further when the question was changed to alcohol consumption in the past month, which in 2008 was 33.78% and 2013 35.77%.

Prevalence of the Use of Alcohol Among Study Participants, 2008 and 2013. Credit: UNODC.org
Prevalence of the Use of Alcohol Among Study Participants, 2008 and 2013.
Credit: UNODC.org

The study also concludes that there is a significant increase from 2008 to 2013 in the use of alcohol in the past month between women, the 18-24 age group, the 25-34 age group, and within the social strata 1 and 2.

Among women, the statistic for 2008 showed 22.76% consuming alcohol in the past month, while in 2013 the number rose to 25.89%.

Comparative Prevalence of the Use of Alcohol in the Past Month According to Sex, Age, and Social Stratum, 2008 and 2013. Credit: UNODC.org

Comparative Prevalence of the Use of Alcohol in the Past Month According to Sex, Age, and Social Stratum, 2008 and 2013. Credit: UNODC.org

In the 18-24 year old group, in 2008 the number sat at 45.53%, while in 2013 it shot up to 49.25.

Between the 25-34 age group the statistic started out lower at 42.01% in 2008, and bumped up to 37.55% in 2013.

Social strata 1 and 2, the lowest socio-economic social groups, started at 27.60% and 33.14% respectively in 2008, and both witnessed a slight increase to 32.33% and 35.09% in 2013.

The social strata in 2008 presented an ascending pattern from stratum 1-6 social of the percentages of people who consumed alcohol in the past month; strata 3 and 4-6 were recorded in 2008 at 36.13% and 43.99% respectively, while in 2013 social stratum 3 increased to 37.28 while 3-6 decreased slightly to land at 42.06.

Prevalance of Alcohol Use in the Past Month According to Department, 2008 and 2013. Credit: UNODC.org

Prevelance of Alcohol Use in the Past Month According to Department, 2008 and 2013. Credit: UNODC.org

The report also broke down the numbers by departments, enabling the research to pinpoint exactly where heightened alcohol consumption occurs.

Statistics show that in the states of San Andres and Providencia and Caldas there was a significant decrease in the use of alcohol in the past month, compared to states such as Cali y Yumbo, Atlantico, Choco and Huila where a significant increase was shown.

Tobacco Use

Tobacco consumption is on the downturn in Colombia, thanks to fewer new smokers each year, the study concluded. However, the study still estimates that around 3 million people still consume cigarettes.

The study concluded that among the three indicators of tobacco use, use within a lifespan, within the last year, and within the last month, all witnessed a significant decrease.

Comparison of the Prevelance of the Use of Tobacco Among Study Participants, 2008-2013. Credit: UNODC.org

Comparison of the Prevalence of the Use of Tobacco Among Study Participants, 2008-2013. Credit: UNODC.org

In 2008, participants who said they had used tobacco in the their lifetime were 45.5%, dropping to 42.1% in 2013.

Those who had used tobacco in the past year were 21.6% in 2008, and dropped significantly to 16.2% in 2013.

The numbers for users in the past month was at 17.3% in 2008, and dropped more than 4% to 13.0% in 2013.

The report also presented the proportion and number of new cases of tobacco use initiated in the year preceding the 2008 and 2013 studies.

In this regard, the study took

Prevelence of Tobacco Use in the Past Month, According to Sex, Age, and Social Stratum, 2008 and 2013. Credit: UNODC.org

Prevelence of Tobacco Use in the Past Month, According to Sex, Age, and Social Stratum, 2008 and 2013. Credit: UNODC.org

into account that in the year prior to the 2008 study, around 540 thousand people reported that they had smoked tobacco for the first time during that period. In the year before the 2013 study, that number had reduced itself almost 50%.

This reflects that the downturn in tobacco use in Colombia is also reflected in the smaller number of new smokers during the study period, the report indicated.

Significant decreases in tobacco use are seen amongst women smokers, male smokers, social strata, and in all of the age group categories studied except for the 12-17 year-old group.

When comparing the figures regionally, in 13 of the 27 states a significant reduction in tobacco use was observed according to the study.

Source

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