Current Addiction Reports

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 72–85 | Cite as

Alcohol and Noncommunicable Disease Risk

  • Jürgen RehmEmail author
  • Omer S. M. Hasan
  • Sameer Imtiaz
  • Charlotte Probst
  • Michael Roerecke
  • Kevin Shield
Alcohol (M Farrell and E Stockings, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Alcohol


Purpose of Review

Alcohol use is a major risk factor for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), annually causing more than 1.8 million deaths, and approximately 52 million disability-adjusted life years lost globally. This review examines the relationship between alcohol use and NCDs in the context of current United Nations (UN) and World Health Organization (WHO) initiatives to reduce the burden of NCDs as well as the resulting policy implications.

Recent Findings

The importance of alcohol as a major risk factor for NCDs is evidenced by its inclusion as one of only four behavioral risk factors (tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and harmful use of alcohol) into the World Health Organization’s Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs. Alcohol use also plays a major role in other strategic initiatives of the UN and WHO.


While these inclusions help enable policy measures to reduce harmful alcohol use, the Global NCD Action Plan in general disregards many diseases and injuries caused by alcohol, most notably liver cirrhosis and all mental disorders. Furthermore, the Global NCD Action Plan also fails to highlight interactions between risk factors; however, there is strong epidemiological evidence of the differential harms caused by alcohol use between poverty/socioeconomic strata. Thus, future policy plans should explicitly include consideration of health inequalities.


Alcohol Noncommunicable disease Policy Risk factor Liver cirrhosis 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

40429_2018_189_MOESM1_ESM.docx (19 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 19.3 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018
corrected publication March/2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jürgen Rehm
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
    Email author
  • Omer S. M. Hasan
    • 1
    • 5
  • Sameer Imtiaz
    • 1
    • 3
  • Charlotte Probst
    • 1
    • 6
  • Michael Roerecke
    • 1
    • 5
  • Kevin Shield
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Institute for Mental Health Policy Research, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)TorontoCanada
  2. 2.Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute, CAMHTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Institute of Medical Science (IMS)University of TorontoTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  5. 5.Dalla Lana School of Public HealthUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  6. 6.Institute for Clinical Psychology and PsychotherapyTU DresdenDresdenGermany

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