Lithuania - Results

February 2020

Since 2018 Lithuania has been living with audaciously positive consequences of the evidence-based alcohol control policy. The ban on alcohol advertising, setting legal buying age at 20, shorter retail hours and price increases are all delivering on the promise.  Lithuania is no longer the country consuming most alcohol, consumption is continuing to go down. In just two years 2016-2018 consumption dropped by 2 litres of pure alcohol per capita.

 

The excise tax revenues have increased and stayed at a higher level during the period of reduced consumption. And of course, the best are significant reductions in alcohol-related harm – fewer suicides, deadly traffic accidents, drowning deaths, fires and workplace accidents. Mortality and morbidity for disorders directly related to alcohol are going down. We can boast an impressive nearly 20 per cent drop in registered domestic violence crimes in the year 2019.

 

Lithuanian society embraced those changes with increasing support for policies. Many doomsday scenarios broadcasted by industry seem to have evaporated. The problem with alcohol advertising in foreign magazines so acute in the beginning of 2018, has not been mentioned again. The hordes of thirsty Lithuanians flooding border shops to save 20 euro cents per beer continue to be mentioned as an overwhelming economical threat, rather than a reality and the wave of unregistered alcohol described in mass-media does not seem to have any impact on the reality and public health indicators.

 

Since last year a ban on the sale of drinks for underage imitating alcoholic drinks has been introduced. Hopefully, this will help to detox children parties and socialization of the young. Paradoxically, these positive results seem to have a political cost of becoming increasingly unelectable.

Nijole Gostautaite Midttun

President of the Lithuanian Tobacco and Alcohol Control Coalition

A picture of a Health Minister
Aurelijus Veryga is used as
an a information stand to
inform about enforcing of a
sale time restriction. When it
is placed in front of the
entrance to the alcohol
department everyone knows
the sale has ended.

Source: Diena