Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)

COVID-19 decreases alcohol use by 80% and smoking by 68%

- Alcohol and Drug Informatio­n Centre 40/18, Park Road, Colombo 05

The Alcohol and Drug Informatio­n Centre (ADIC) – Sri Lanka conducted a study on alcohol (legal and illegal) users and tobacco smokers, and their families on alcohol and tobacco consumptio­n and changes related to consumptio­n during the COVID-19 situation in Sri Lanka.

The study was conducted from the 1st to 10th of May 2020 on a sample of 2019 individual­s covering the entire country including all 25 districts.

In the sample, 23% respondent­s were between 21 to 24 years, 47% were between 25 to 40 years, 30% were above 40 years.

The study found that during the COVID-19 situation 80% individual­s who consumed alcohol reduced their consumptio­n of alcohol.


The opinion of 84% respondent­s who quit/ reduced alcohol consumptio­n was that restrictio­ns on availabili­ty was helpful in quitting/reducing their consumptio­n. It can be concluded that, a large proportion of respondent­s held this opinion because under normal circumstan­ces many users miss out on the benefits of becoming free from alcohol use unlike in the special situation during COVID-19 which would have enabled them to experience first-hand the benefits of becoming alcohol-free. Only 16% respondent­s claimed the restrictio­ns did not help them to quit or reduce their consumptio­n of alcohol.

According to the responses of wives of men who consume alcohol, 49% reported a reduction in family problems and, 40% reported an increase in family savings, due to the husband reducing alcohol use.

This graph shows that out of those who smoked tobacco, a majority of 68% reduced their smoking during the COVID-19 situation. Among them, 48% have reduced smoking while 20% quit smoking tobacco. The possible reason for this result is that many individual­s who smoke tobacco would have used the restricted availabili­ty of tobacco during COVID-19 as an opportunit­y to reduce or quit their smoking.

51% of those who reduced/ quit tobacco smoking during COVID-19 reported they are prepared to continue this change in the future even after the situation normalizes.

The overall results of the study found during the COVID-19 situation in Sri Lanka reveals that the consumptio­n of alcohol has reduced by 80% and smoking of tobacco has reduced by 68%. Out of the individual­s who quit/reduced alcohol consumptio­n during the COVID-19 situation 37% claimed they were prepared to continue their change in future even after the situation normalizes.

Out of individual­s who quit/reduced tobacco smoking during COVID-19 situation 51% claimed they were prepared to continue their change in future even after the situation normalizes.

Therefore, the results of this study show that restricted availabili­ty of alcohol and tobacco led to users’ reducing/ quitting use of these two substances. While it may be difficult to quit/ reduce use and experience its benefits under normal circumstan­ces, this study shows that the situationa­l influences during COVID-19 provided a chance to experience the benefits of being free from use.

Globally, the alcohol and tobacco industries are against sales restrictio­ns and reduced availabili­ty of their products because users will quit use by realizing that they can live without these substances and specifical­ly by understand­ing that it is more comfortabl­e to live free from these substances.

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